Obesity: Addressing the Causes and Health Costs Associated with Rising Rates of Disease Associated with Our Diet

The United States population is currently facing the worst health crisis that it has ever seen. The obesity epidemic now directly affects at least one-third of our population, with the average American now carrying roughly twenty-three extra pounds of weight (Fulkerson, 2011). Yet, the discomfort suffered by carrying around these extra pounds is not the only negative side effect associated with this drastic increase in weight gain. Exponential increases in a variety of chronic, life threatening disease have also occurred in the past twenty years, with the most alarming statistics being seen in our children. Children as young as the age of four are now being classified as obese and diagnosed with diabetes and hypertension, diseases that traditionally have only ever affected aging adults. These facts clearly prove that something drastic needs to be done to save our citizens (Moss, 2).

The main causes of obesity can be directly tied to the food that we eat. Since the 1950s, food corporations have greatly increased the amount of refined and highly processed foods used in their products. These ingredients, while being highly toxic for your health, masks themselves by being highly enjoyable to one’s sense of taste, as well as tricking our brain into thinking that we need to eat more of them in order to become satisfied. However, it is not only our reliance on these highly processed foods that is causing our health problems. An increased consumption of animal based products can also be linked to this rise in disease. Overall, it cannot be denied that it is our diet that is the primary culprit behind our failing health.

The only way to fix this problem is by educating our population. Many individuals have no idea that the ingredients in their favorite foods are actually toxic to them. There also needs to be an increase in physician nutrition education, as most physicians today receive barely any nutritional training in medical school, a key tool that could be used in the prevention of disease. While it would be beneficial if such ingredients were banned from the food market all together, realistically this is unlikely to occur. Therefore, it is crucial that we focus on the low cost alternative of educating our population in order to solve this epidemic.


Would you like to Supertax that?

I don’t know if you all were aware but apparently physical health is a problem in our country. Obesity is an issue. Heart attacks are an issue. Diabietes is an issue. Cancer is an issue. A percentage of these issues derive from the same source: fast food. It’s not a big secret that fast food is bad for you. Fast food has extraordinarily high calorie content, saturated fat content, and sodium content. Sure, a few more calories, a little bit of saturated fat and food heavy in sodium is ok once in a while but when different types of fried potatoes make up a large percentage of your daily diet you’re bound to run into some health issues.  A sad reality is that our poorest communities are subjected to these health issues because of how cheap a 20 piece of nuggets at McDonalds is ($4.99). Far too often is the most unhealthy food also the cheapest; Far too often our poorest citizens are also  the most obese. To effectively and efficiently become a healthier population, we need to disincentivize this unhealthy behavior. What if we placed a tax on fast food the same way we placed a tax on cigarettes? This could potentially counter the social cost that we incur as a result of an unhealthy poorer class. Benefits from this proposed tax include long term economic benefits incurred from healthier more productive workers, reduced counts of health issues such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, and extra tax money for the government to use at their discretion.