Who is responsible for obesity? -By Ayako Ogata

People are becoming addicted to processed food and the obesity population is increasing rapidly. Who is responsible for obesity? Is it the individual or the government? Attending the food day discussion: The Obesity Epidemic: The Divide Between Nutrition Science and Food Policy held in the Hammer Museum made me think about the important issues we have on foods. During the discussion, Dr. David explained that obesity is the number one silent killer in the USA, even it doesn’t directly lead to death; it leads to high blood pressures, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and others to kill the patients. However, he argued that it is getting harder and harder for people to control diet these days by themselves; many restaurants are opened until late, fast food serves a hamburger for only a dollar and the candy companies make advertisements so attractive that people cannot help to buy it. I strongly agree with this point Dr. David made, and I claim the obesity is no longer responsible for only the individual but also the food environment we have. Food is becoming more like drugs or cigarettes! Because of the strong temptation people get from it, it is almost impossible now to avoid processed food as an individual. Then why, doesn’t the government make any policies to help us? As Dr. David pointed out, they have policies to prohibit illegal drugs and have raised the cigarette tax in 2009 to make it hard to buy, but why not any policies for the food? Michael T. Roberts explains that food policy can only make a slow change because of three reasons; there is no coherent national food policy now, because it is a complex issue involving government, farmers, food companies, politics, and there are always a hold back from the opposite side. He concluded the discussion by pointing out two important ways to make a change; to have a strong national leadership to change policy and to establish clear benchmarks of eating more vegetables and fruits instead of processed food. I understand the difficulty to determine new policy over food and I agree with the suggestions he made. However, there was one point I disagree with him; we shouldn’t wait patiently for the slow act of the government. Especially, I strongly felt the urge of the immediate government movement on my way home. While I was walking along Westwood, making resolutions to be on diet with my friends, my eyes captured the Diddy Riese sign with only five people waiting in line. My body involuntarily started to hurry towards the line, and I couldn’t help myself to buy one delicious ice cream sandwich. I realized that I can no longer permit the delay of the new policy. It is a shame that the government lets Diddy Riese being a “marvelous-looking silent killer”. I persist that they should take the issue more seriously and punish the good taste and the low cost of Diddy Riese right now!



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