I just read this post from “Fooducate’s” blog about the obesity epidemic. The statistics are astonishing and horrible. When you think about quality of life issues, and the resulting health problems of being overweight, it gets mind boggling. Here is just a sample:
10. Over the past 15 years, seven states have doubled their rate of obesity. Another 10 states nearly doubled their obesity rate, with increases of at least 90%.
11. Over the past 15 years, diabetes rates have doubled in ten states. In 1995, only four states had diabetes rates above 6%. Now, 43 have diabetes rates over 7% and 32 have rates above 8%.
12. Ten years ago, no state had an obesity rate above 24%, and now 43 states have higher obesity rates than the state that was the highest in 2000.
The question becomes, “what do we do about it?”. Is it a question of personal responsibility, or of corporate and social responsibility? I talked before about the being an issue in our church. Our entire culture has changed to encourage obesity, in a variety of ways, but the number one way is food culture. We subsidize junk food, corporations and their advertisements know how to appeal to us, and there is no moral concern about any of this. Is it right to appeal to people’s weakness? We are prewired to desire fat, sugar and salt. That was fine when those things were hard to obtain, but now we are inundated with them. Getting back to my church example, someone brought a pecan pie last week. I know better, but I couldn’t resist. Fortunately, it wasn’t that good, so I threw half of it out. The point is, if you wave treats under someones nose, they will succumb, sooner or later. Do we insist people must have more will power and education? Or do we change the culture, to stop creating so many temptations? Do we make junk food more expensive?