Does the U.S. have an 'obesity-promoting environment?'
Self-proclaimed experts say obesity epidemic must shift from personal responsibility
The number of overweight and obese people in the United States is one of
national shame. Health economists say that unless the American populace
begins to lose weight fast, that the health costs surrounding weight
issues will overwhelm the U.S. health system. However - there is a
growing number of voices today who say that the overweight populace is
not entirely to blame for their predicament, and that multiple factors
make the U.S. an "obesity-promoting environment.
The Center for Consumer Freedom, funded by restaurant, food and other industries, condemned the institute as joining forces with the nation's 'food nannies.' The Center said the agency's recommendations would 'actively reduce the number of choices Americans have when they sit down to eat.'
The institute refutes the idea that obesity is largely the result of a lack of discipline on the part of individuals. Instead, the institute embraces policy proposals that have met resistance from the food industry and lawmakers, arguing that multiple strategies will be needed to make the U.S. environment less "obesogenic."
The report was released at the Weight of the Nation conference, a three-day meeting hosted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"People have heard the advice to eat less and move more for years, and during that time a large number of Americans have become obese," IOM committee member Shiriki Kumanyika told journalists. "That advice will never be out of date. But when you see the increase in obesity you ask, what changed? And the answer is, the environment. The average person cannot maintain a healthy weight in this obesity-promoting environment."
The Center for Consumer Freedom, funded by restaurant, food and other industries, condemned the institute as joining forces with the nation's "food nannies." The Center said the agency's recommendations would "actively reduce the number of choices Americans have when they sit down to eat" and emphasized that "personal responsibility" alone was to blame for the obesity epidemic.
Officials are attempting to address the societal factors that led the percentage of obese adults to more than double since 1980, when 15 percent were in that category. Among children, it has soared to 17 percent from 5 percent in the past 30 years.
Obesity is responsible for an additional $190 billion a year in healthcare costs, or one-fifth of all healthcare spending. Billions more come in the form of higher health insurance premiums, lost productivity and absenteeism.
"There has been a tendency to look for a single solution, like putting a big tax on soda or banning marketing (of unhealthy food) to children," panel chairman Dan Glickman, a senior fellow of the Bipartisan Policy Center says. "What this report says is this is not a one-solution problem."
The panel identifies taxing sugar-sweetened beverages as a "potential action," noting that "their link to obesity is stronger than that observed for any other food or beverage."
Predictably, this has been met with opposition. "I do not think in any way, shape or form that such punitive measures will change behaviors," said Rhona Applebaum, Coca-Cola Co.'s chief scientific and regulatory officer, in advance of the report. Anyone deterred by the tax from buying sweetened soda, she said, will replace those calories with something else.
© 2012, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
- - -
Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Obesity, social factors, taxes, health, report
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Health News
- Is it really that simple? - Research suggests ordinary vitamin C kills drug-resistant TB
- Chamomile tea can be refreshing treat - as well as a safeguard against cancer, researchers say
- HIV resurgent among Navajo tribe as deadly cases spike
- UK to give cancer patients genetic analysis just like Angelina Jolie
- Vitamin D found beneficial in treating asthma symptoms
- Study: Depressed women in 40s, 50s suffer more than twice for stroke risk
- Some experts say it's biologically possible to clone a human
- Study: Women live longer than men as their immune systems age more slowly
- Man declared dead for 40 minutes brought back to life with revolutionary machine
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?