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Saturday, February 6, 2016

Obesity: a Disease of Choice

When New York Mayor Bloomberg proposed a ban on soft drink servings over 16 ounces in 2012, most people didn’t take him seriously. However, the issue of obesity is not to be taken as a joke. According to the data provided by the World Health Organization, more than 1.9 billion adults were overweight in 2014. Over 600 million of these overweight people fell into the category obese. According to all research paper writing experts that examine this issue, obesity is a major risk factor for a great number of chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and cancer. There is only one way for governments to deal with the issue of obesity: by regulating irresponsible marketing campaigns by major food and drinks companies, and increasing the public awareness for the risks imposed by obesity.

Famine, as one of the greatest problems the world has been facing for a long period of time, is less complex than the issue of obesity. The greatest number of the effects of malnutrition, such as malaria, diarrhea or measles, can be solved with medicine and vaccines. Obesity, on the other hand, cannot be solved with simple actions from the public health system. The contemporary way of living ties people down to chairs and offices for the entire day, so most of them have reduced physical activity on minimum. Such lifestyle imposes the need for reduction of the number of calories they take in. However, not many people decide to take those recommendations into consideration.

The results from a research paper published by the Lancet medical journal showed that in 2008, around 50% of the adult population in South Africa, Russia, and Brazil were obese. We are living in a world of abundance. The predictions for poverty in different areas of the world are dramatic, but people are still throwing away one third of global food production, because the products spoil before they reach the consumers. The problems with famine and obesity result from the poor distribution of food throughout the world. Humanity has the potential to create enough food for everyone, but the distribution of products among different nations leads to the troubles related to famine.

British doctors, terrified by the results from a research paper on obesity that projected nearly half of their nation will enter the category of obesity by 2030, blamed their government for the flabby policy regarding the problem. The doctors proposed radical solutions, which included a ban on Coca Cola, McDonald’s and similar companies from sponsoring the Olympics and other major sports events. The proposed measures of action also included a ban on the use of celebrities and cartoon characters for the purpose of selling unhealthy meals and drinks to children; ban on fast food restaurants around school areas; and a legal obligation for all food and drink producers to include clear and transparent information about the amount of fat, salt, sugar, and calories in the products they sell.

Although the suggestions of British doctors seem drastic, they have a point. If governments continue to ignore the issue of growing obesity, more people will be affected and the consequences will be greater. The only way to increase the public awareness about junk food and excess weight is by implementing rigorous and comprehensive measures, similar to the ones related to anti-smoking campaigns. The American Heart Association treats obesity as a disease, but the condition is still very different from other diseases. The difference is in the choice: obesity is a disease of choice. People don’t choose to suffer from cardiovascular diseases or hunger. Excessive weight is something we can successfully deal with only if we motivate ourselves enough to improve our lifestyle.