Millions of Americans are obese. Walking down the street it is hard to not to notice big men, huge women, and children looking like they want to be Sumo wrestlers when they grow up. There are three major reasons why a significant number of Americans are obese. It is the food that they eat and their love affair with cars. If one would like to solve obesity there is a need to do more than moderation and promoting exercise; there is a need to use more drastic measures like making it almost impossible for Americans to buy junk food and purchase their beloved cars.
Obesity has become an overwhelming epidemic in America. There are many pathways to obesity but the most common route is inactivity like watching a considerable amount of time in front of the TV while consuming a diet consisting of high fat and high sodium rich foods (Tsintsifa, E. et al., 208). While America is made aware of this health crisis, its citizens are also being educated with regards to the hazards of eating processed food stripped of their nutritive value (Turrell & Kavanagh, p. 375). Still it is a tremendous struggle to change American lifestyle and many are being affected by this trend.
The problem has reached crisis proportions. If one is well aware of the impact and future consequences of obesity this assertion is easy to make. First there is the health issue. Obesity is linked to heart problems and diabetes (Povey & Clark-Carter, 932). Aside from these two there are other problems related to obesity such as emotional problems that arise from being overweight. Then on top of it there are physical limitations to lugging all those extra pounds. For morbidly obese individuals it is a great challenge to move around. It is also a challenge to participate in ball games. It can also be argued that there would be problems when it comes to developing relationships with the opposite sex. One could only imagine the emotional roller coaster ride that obese people have to go through on a daily basis.
Obesity has reached crisis levels because the government has to spend a great deal of money in healthcare costs in order to treat obesity related problems If the trend continues then the number of deaths arising from morbid obesity will only go up. It can also be said that this social problem will create a chain reaction of events such as the increasing cost of maintaining this lifestyle. One could just imagine the food cost, the plus size clothes, and other things needed by an obese man or woman.
There is no need to elaborate the fact that obese men and women must go down in weight. It is imperative that they seek help in order to reduce their waist line and experience an improvement in their overall well being. It would help them reduce their risk of heart attack and the debilitating effects of diabetes and it will also help them enjoy life without the extra baggage. The only problem is that they are living in a highly industrialized country where there are many challenges to losing weight.
The first major challenge is food. It is much easier and much cheaper to get junk food such as chips and fried stuff that one can get from McDonald’s and other fast food joints. It is more convenient to buy junk food but the number of calories in those foods can really easily increase the weight of the consumer. The second major challenge is the lack of physical activity. Before modern living came to this country people had to labor manually for the food that they will eat. But this time there are supermarkets everywhere, there is no longer any need to hunt or at least farm ones own food requirements.
The second major challenge to solving the problems associated with obesity is the lack of physical activity. The inability to exercise exacerbates the impact of eating high-calorie food. This is because there is no way to burn off excess fat. This is the main reason why obesity is prevalent in this country (Variyam, 282). In order therefore to solve obesity the government and concerned citizens must take a long and hard look at the challenges that is blocking the way for transformation. It can be argued that since this health crisis is so widespread there is no time to hesitate in proposing solutions that will help a great number of people.
The solution for obesity must be brutal and it must be decisive. There is no time for half measures. The morbidly obese are not only fat because they eat too much and that they do not exercise. They are obese because of the culture and the society that they are in. Thus, in order to help them, society must change, more specifically the culture must change in order for them to stop eating too much and consuming unhealthy food. The solution comes in two stages. The first one deals with food and the second deals with the lack of physical activity.
With regards to food the government must excessively tax McDonald’s, Taco Bell, KFC, Pizza Hut and other similar fast food joints. The government must create a special tax system where these businesses must be forced to sell their burgers and their pizza at $200 dollars per meal. The standard that must be used is the McDonald’s “happy meal” and this kind of meal must be charged two hundred dollars each. This will force the consumers to find alternatives. A basic understanding of how the market works will reveal that people will be forced to look for the best alternative.
Since every fast food joint in the country will be heavily taxed there is no choice but to eat at home or go to restaurants that are not serving excessively high calorie food. Restaurants that will serve healthy food such as fruits, vegetables and lean meat will be given incentives by the government making it highly profitable to operate this kind of food service. Aside from taxing the fast food businesses it is also imperative to tax the companies that produce beverages with high sugar content such as Pepsi and Coke. These types of beverages are very appealing to children but aside from lack of nutritive content the sugar in them are can easily cause weight gain (Melanson, 28).
Again consumers will look for alternatives. The government will then reward producers of natural fruit juices and they too can make a highly profitable business selling food items that will help reduce obesity in America. It must also be pointed out that income and prices affect consumer behavior and that there are studies that can support this claim (Huang, 162). The government can then use these studies to go ahead with a strategy to force people to alter their behavior especially with regards to their eating patterns.
The next major step in curbing obesity in this country is to tax automakers so that cars will be worth at least $1 Million each. This will mean that only the very rich will be able to afford cars. Others may object and say that it is ridiculous to make cars as expensive as one million dollars but these are the same people who lament that the earth is choking with the noxious fumes coming from the exhaust pipes of cars. In this way two birds can be hit with one stone. It will reduce obesity and then help the environment at the same time.
If cars will become this expensive then people will be forced to find alternative ways to travel. Thus it is also important to make it expensive to take buses and take the subway. The main goal of this regulation is to force people to buy bicycles and so instead of commuting using fossil-fuel guzzling machines Americans will either learn to walk to school, or to their offices, or they can purchase bicycles so that they can get to their destinations more speedily.
Traditionally bicycles are relatively cheap so there is no need for the government to help in this regard. Still the government can help by making sure that the upsurge in the demand for bicycles will not suddenly affect the prices so that it will become unaffordable for many. A new culture will be started. Starting in the 20th century, Americans became addicted to the convenience and pleasure provided by automobiles.
Then it seems that it is impossible to live life without cars. At this point it is not easy for many to switch to bicycles because not everyone is doing it and therefore the design of traffic routes, roads and cities are made in accordance to the movement of cars. Since a revolution in bicycle use will occur after the abovementioned solutions will be implemented, then the city landscape will also change making it easier for people to travel using two wheels instead of four.
It has been said that desperate times call for desperate measures. The increasing trend of having obese American children developing health problems is alarming. Sooner than later there will be millions of Americans that are morbidly obese and unable to function as normal human beings. They could not be solely blamed for eating too much and thus transforming themselves into overweight men and women who find it hard to barely function. There is therefore a need for desperate measures to match desperate times
The proposal to heavily tax fast food chains will force consumer to find cheaper alternatives. Since nutritious foods will not be taxed as heavily, the natural tendency is to switch to eating the more nutritious food items. The same effect can be expected if the government will make it almost impossible to purchase cars because of high prices. In this way consumers will be forced to walk or buy bicycles. If these changes will occur, then one can expect a transformation in American culture.
There will be a change from a society that t loves to eat high-calorie food, to one that prefers a more healthy diet. The same transformation can be expected in the transportation sector. There will be few cars while more and more Americans will learn to use the bicycle and in the process increasing physical activity while promoting a healthy lifestyle.
Huang, Kuo. Role of National Income and Prices. Web.
Melanson, Kathleen. Lifestyle Approaches to Promoting Healthy Eating for Children. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine. 2(1): 26-29.
Povey, Rachel Clare & David Clark-Carter. Diabetes and Healthy Eating: A Systematic Review of Literature. The Diabetes Educator. 33(6): 931-955.
Tsintsifa, E. et al. Interactions Among Habitual Physical Activity, Eating Patterns, and Diet Consumption. Angiology. 2006. 57(2): 205-208. New York: Westminster Publications.
Turrell, Gavin & Ann Kavanagh. Socio-economic Pathways to Diet: Modeling the Association Between Socio-economic Position and Food Purchasing Behavior. Public Health Nutrition. 2005 Queensland University of Technology. 9(3): 375-383.
Variyam, Jayachandran. “Role of Demographics, Knowledge, and Attitudes.” Web.