Saturday, October 4, 2014


The word "Obesity" is one of the most widely used jargon in modern times because of the concern in many parts of the world regarding the health and economic consequences of this human affliction. Though tons of papers have been published during the last 2 decades, nothing concrete has been achieved to control the obesity epidemic as no consensus exists regarding the root cause that is responsible for this modern tragedy. It is true that obesity is caused by undisciplined eating by a section of the population while hereditary factors also play some part. Governments in various countries are breaking their heads as to how this epidemic can be controlled and a few well meaning intervention programs were launched in different countries with some what indifferent results. It is now being realized as reflected by the report below that consumers them selves are to be blamed for causing this havoc though government agencies can contribute in some measures to help him out with suitable policies.

"A new survey by two food economists confirmed that even obese people don't blame restaurants, grocery stores, farmers, or government policies for obesity, which means that creating and enforcing public policies to reduce obesity or encourage/mandate healthier food is probably not going to be effective. University of Illinois researcher Brenna Ellison and Jayson Lusk at Oklahoma State University note that many of the food policies designed to improve food choices, such as requiring calorie information on restaurant menus and taxing sugar-sweetened beverages, don't produce the intended results. Their question: Why aren't these policies working? Why aren't consumers responding to increased soda prices or calorie information on menus"Obesity is in the news every day so it would be hard to say that people are unaware of the policy initiatives in place to reduce U.S. obesity rates," Ellison said. "Based on our study results, the more likely conclusion is that consumers' beliefs about who is to blame for obesity don't necessarily align with the beliefs of policy makers and public health advocates. In the United States, we're known for being an individualistic-based society, so it's  so it's not exceptionally surprising that we would put this responsibility for obesity on ourselves." An online survey was administered by Clear Voice Research whose registry of panelists is representative of the U.S. population in terms of socioeconomic characteristics, gender, and region. Of the more than 800 people in the United States who took the survey, 774 were usable. The main question of interest asked survey participants was, "Who is primarily to blame for the rise in obesity?" Respondents were asked to classify seven different entities (individuals, parents, farmers, food manufacturers, grocery stores, restaurants, and government policies) as either primarily to blame, somewhat to blame, or not to blame for obesity.  Results of the study showed that 94 percent of people believed individuals are primarily or somewhat to blame for the rise in obesity, with parents coming in second at 91 percent primarily or somewhat to blame. Survey respondents felt farmers and grocery stores were relatively blameless for the rise in obesity."

While obesity is a choice by individuals, one has to define what makes a responsible individual? After all a new born child has neither the will nor the means to choose his foods and depends heavily on the parents to give him good food. Is it possible then that parents who do not fulfill their responsibility to provide balanced and nutritious foods to their children during early years of development, has to bear the brunt of the blame for creating a population with wide spread obesity? There are indications proved by science that children who are lean and normal with respect to BMI during their preschool days invariably escape obesity later when they grow into adults. No wonder that the above study brings out emphatically the role of parents in the obesity saga while normal adults becoming obese due to their sedentary life style and gluttony have to bear the responsibility themselves. The blame game however does provide a solution to this vexed problem though ultimately salvation lies in preparing a future citizenry well educated vis-a-vis the nuances of obesity. 


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