To say that obesity and issues with being overweight has become the norm for Americans across our country would be an understatement second to none. Health movements led by large figures have been taking place in our society for a while now such as Mrs. Obama, the former first lady of the United States who created the “Let’s Move!” movement. But to stop here, at this level of ambition to get healthier as a society would only be putting a Band-Aid over a bullet hole. I have a couple of possible solutions to this problem, but a high level of urgence needs to be put into the heads of Americans if we plan on moving forward as a new healthier country.
According to countless studies, the number of overweight and obese Americans has been gradually rising for years with little evidence to show that this epidemic is slowing down. In the year 2007, seventy-two million adults were diagnosed with obesity (Ogden, Carroll, McDowell, & Flegal, 2007). This isn’t even a measure of how many citizens we have that are overweight. This number has only climbed since then and my solution going forward to stop the slow this increase is to tinker with prices of natural and healthy foods across the country. Hard working men and women should not have to spend more money on food that keeps themselves and their family healthy. Greasy and sugary food is too easily accessible and cheap to purchase while something that is packed with vitamins and nourishments are located in stores that are few and far between, and are locked behind ridiculous price barriers. The government understands that our nation has a health problem, but has not done anywhere near enough to fix it. Hit people where it hurts the most, their wallets. It can easily be a win/win for the government and the citizens of the United States. Either tax businesses who’s food surpasses an average amount of calories to force their hand to make healthier food, or work with these businesses to raise prices on foods and meals that promote overeating. This can be done by lowering business taxes on food chains and shops that sell healthier food. Americans are not going to want to eat at places that cost more money and businesses are not going to want to lose money by selling foods that are unhealthy.
Another large and obvious solution to stop health issues is to attack the problem either before it starts or early on. By this I of course mean the youth in America who we need to work harder to protect, they are the future of this country and we need to preserve them and set them up for success. Children from the age of two to the age of nineteen are at a huge risk of becoming obese, most notably in the minority population. Studies show that 33.5% of caucasians are at risk, followed by 35.1% of Non-Hispanic blacks, and lastly at a huge 37% is the Mexican-American community (Ogden et al., 2006). My solution to youth obesity and overweight issues is a bit harder to achieve. This is because a lot of a child’s health depends on their parenting and the social environment they are in. My fix would be change to the lunch children are given at school as well as a restructure of their recesses. Michelle Obama’s program was a valiant effort, but children need to be protected. I believe if children before high school can not reach a state standard of physical requirements by a large margin, their parents and home environment need to be looked into. Maybe even going as far as tickets or fines for parents who neglect the health of their child.
Without a doubt in my mind the better and more realistic solution to the obesity and overweight problems we have in our country is attacking the problem at a young age. Americans would riot if we taxed more for food, just like they did when the British government taxed tea and other goods. But if we put into their mind that allowing their child to become severely unhealthy is abuse and will be punished by one of their most treasured belongings, money, they will do their best to stop immediately. Children would be learning at a young age that compared to their more than likely overweight or obese parents lives, theirs is way more enjoyable. To illustrate, scientists have found that obese children tend to exhibit characteristics such as depression, lack of hope, suicidal tendencies, and low self-esteem. Issues such as depression are also widespread across the country, with the proposed solution we could be killing two birds with one stone. The right thing to do isn’t always easy, but if we want to become better as a nation, major steps have to be taken sooner than later.
(Modern Language Assoc.)
Ciubara, Anamaria, et al. “Obesity — Depression Interrelation in Children and Adolescent.” Romanian Journal of Pediatrics, vol. 63, no. 4, Nov. 2014, pp. 375-378. EBSCOhost, chaffey.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=100674474&site=ehost-live.
(Modern Language Assoc.)
Bean, Melanie K., et al. “Obesity in America: Implications for Clinical and Health Psychologists.” Journal of Clinical Psychology in Medical Settings, vol. 15, no. 3, Sept. 2008, pp. 214-224. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1007/s10880-008-9124-9.
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