Obesity Will Soon Cost U.S. $344 Billion a Year


The problem requires approaches on many fronts… Whether in food or media consumption, consumer behavior is closely managed by industry merchandisers. These are powerful and necessary engines of our economy. However, like the tobacco industry, governments acting for the common good should have a role in regulation and mounting public health campaigns akin to the anti-smoking, drunk driving, gambling, ada, drug abuse, breast cancer awareness, etc. that have made important differences.

I believe that government control should be limited. The argument that obesity is a result of illnesses or addictions is not trivial, and should be considered seriously.

But consumers who choose to abuse their health should somehow shoulder more of the burden they cause — pay back their share back to public or somehow pay more for insurance so that all of us do not have to pay for risks they take. Possibly in the form of consumption taxes (as alcohol, tobacco, vehicle use, etc.)

There are some vulnerable groups that would benefit from coordination of government, industry, and public health agencies and self-help groups. Child advocates and educators are also stakeholders that need to coordinate their efforts and look at this issue through the lens of childhood and the family. School-based campaigns akin to drug abuse, health, home ec, and sex education need development to target future generations. Private social service and government health services to the underclasses, should be intensified for this vulnerable group too.

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