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What's On The Menu? Essay

1523 words - 6 pages

Muffin tops, Weight Watchers, Atkins, these are all among the jargon designated for the horizontally challenged today. These words and others are the runoff of a much larger problem, obesity. Americans today have made being inactive and feasting on junk food acceptable, thereby greatly increase the percentage of the population that is extremely overweight. Excessive eating is not the lone source for this disproportionate problem of obesity, there are a myriad of causes and as many solutions (Manson 1). No matter what the cause of obesity, the liberty to alter or wallow in their condition should remain the individual’s rather than the government’s. Obesity reduces the quality of people’s lives, consequently the government is concerned by this threatening issue. However, instead of limiting people’s food choice the government should foster a goal of health in all their citizens (Balko 1). The government currently vouches for responsible decision making, more exercising, and maintaining a wholesome diet (Manson 1). This cheerleading role that the government currently plays is most beneficial to its citizens. Given choices people decide what they want, and act upon it, but often a government regulation only cripples their resolve. People’s basic liberties give them the right to preside over their own health. A government has the duty to instill in its citizens a sense of responsibility for maintaining their health, rather than to regulate what they eat, because in most cases people can be more successful in creating a healthy lifestyle through self-discipline than through adherence to laws.
Creating and enforcing public policy is a basic function of any government, however; public policy is not an all-encompassing category, and it does not include the private matter of personal health. A good government tries to ensure the well being of its citizens, and their individual rights. Consequently, a government should be concerned with an issue as detrimental as obesity, but respectful of the free choice of people. Obesity is not a segueway for government to limit the choices that people have to lead a healthy or unhealthy life. In fact, the American system was “founded on the idea that individuals have basic freedoms. Among these, certainly, is the right to choose what we put on our plates” (Manson 2). If parameters were to be placed on eating options to minimize the threat of obesity, who might they begin with and where would they end? New York, California, and Washington all considered renewing bills in 2006 which would tax items such as junk food and soft drinks, but these “fat taxes are surely aimed more at raising revenue than at helping people live healthier lives” (Herrera 1). A price hike for fattening products is not accompanied by a decline in the price of wholesome foodstuffs. But the fat tax, sponsored by those who flout the healthy lifestyle principle this law supposedly encourages, creates lucrative revenue for the...

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