The Problem of Obesity
The problem of obesity has recently been in the news with changes to the menus of some restaurants. It is a problem that while it has received much news has many variables which are often not presented. There are several reasons why some individuals are considered obese. Some involve heredity, some individuals make poor choices and some involve how our individual bodies process the food we eat. We have all seen individuals who can eat anything they want and they continue to remain thin while others eat small amounts of food and yet gain weight.
The reasons for the above examples may never really be understood though there are efforts to try for which I commend those organizations that undertake such efforts. Listening to news reports and statistics you get the impression that obesity is a huge problem in this country. I am not agreeing or disagreeing with these reports but the focus seems to be on examples rather than the variables or causes. We as individuals make our own choices for the food we eat and when we make those choices we must consider how our bodies react.
It is great that changes in the restaurant world have been made and are being made to provide healthy choices on their menus. With the growing focus on obesity there appears to be some efforts by government organizations to remove or reduce the choices we have had in the past. Attempts to regulate what we eat and the availability of our choices should not be a function of any government or public organization. Reducing or eliminating choices for some individuals may also have an impact on their health. We must remember some individuals have health issues such as lactose intolerant or allergies to certain foods. One example in addition to the lactose issue is allergies to peanuts. Other individuals have a problem with spicy foods and must take medication to avoid having problems with the digestion issues surrounding certain foods. In some cases certain foods which are hard to digest must be avoided all together. There needs to be alternatives for individuals with the problems identified in the previous sentences. These instances are examples where an individual’s choices are already limited. They should not be limited further by any government or public entity.
Another point to make is some individuals appear to be obese when in fact they have a big bone body structure. This fact also appears to have a lack of coverage with regards to the subject of obesity. Granted obesity for some individuals can be a health risk dependent upon how much they weigh in relation to their height and body structure. It is good to have a reference point from which to make decisions in terms of how much an individual with a certain body structure and height should weigh. One question to be raised in reference to the guidelines is who has made these determinations and based on what data.
There are also efforts in some areas where government entities are making the determination that having an overweight child is child abuse. Child abuse is a serious accusation and should not be made lightly. Having an obese child does not necessarily mean the act of child abuse is involved. If the accusation if false it can damage an individual’s perception in the public eye. Government and public entities must stay out of the business of dictating what we will eat or should eat such as food programs for our schools. I do believe in a balanced menu for our schools but there should also be choices for those who have problems with certain foods. If they exist that is great but if they do not the requirements need to change to accommodate individual needs, especially those with health related issues. Let us all take care and make good choices in the foods we eat. As parents when we have younger children we should help them make the right decisions so they have a full and healthy life.