Solution Proposal Alex Gerondale

I found this part of my paper to be particularly interesting:
When writing about the cause and counterarguments to the cause, i think that part of my paper is the strongest

This part was surprisingly difficult:
describing how government regulation would fix obesity

Next time I would do this differently:
focus more on putting quotes is to have a greater impact

The Fix for Obesity

Being overweight, fat, or obese is a major issue in our society today. For one it stems mostly from social environment issues that influence all other reasons for obesity. Many may say different with explanations like it’s a just a calorie out calorie in deal, and therefor can be easily fixed so it’s not a problem. Some others may confirm that it is an issue, but the origins of obesity come from stress or bullying. However, though there reasons may be plausible it is guaranteed that there reason surfaced from the social environment. As for the individuals who don't believe in the fact that obesity is a problem, they are most likely ill-informed on the topic. As for coming up with a way to stop obesity the answer is the same as the cause. Just like with how social environment enacts many reasons for obesity, one can eliminate obesity by using a system to solve all issues that give way to the problem. For instance, there are many theories as to how to stop obesity. Some are determined that starting health programs is the solution, others may express that controlling the companies who produce unhealthy foods is the answer. There are countless solutions for solving obesity, but the best one that will counter or implement all of them is using the government to control the social environment. Not so far that it will strip liberties, but far enough to make people see the healthy choice as the easy choice.

Obesity, is it a problem or a personal choice that's easy to fix? The answer is simple and obvious. It is a problem. In America 1 and 3 adults are obese and the number only continues to grow as individuals are encoraged to overeat, sit in front of a TV, and let their bodies go to ruin (Johnson). It’s like the social hypocrisies of our nations are literally trying to kill us from our own overly fat bodies. This is done through fast food and commercial advertising that makes it easy for us to have another excuse to drop on the couch. As for the ignorant people who say that it’s just a personal body choice, they cannot say that "it’s just a choice" to have diabetes, heart disease, kidney failure, blindness, and clogging of the circulatory system thanks to being overweight (Johnson). Those individuals cannot declare that “it’s not a problem” when an obese person overeats and has their leg amputated because of diabetes. Nobody in their right mind would be happy to lose a leg and say that being obese wasn't the cause for it. Doctor Suzanne Johnson who is the president of APA (American Psychological Association) even quoted such an example of social environment enacting obesity, "The obesity epidemic is not the result of an increase in laziness and a decrease in motivation and self-discipline in U.S. adults and children. The fast food industry—a central player in our obesogenic environment—carefully targets the minority populations who suffer most from high obesity rates. This is while companies argue against New York City's restriction on the size of sugary drinks as unfairly restricting of personal choice." Plus, it's not just our physical bodies that are being destroyed over obesity, but also our healthcare systems. With the exponentially rising number of obese people the hospitals are being strained to the limits. To explain better, one example is that insulin shots for obese diabetic people are low in supply and high on demand. Since the shots are becoming more expensive because there is such a high demand for them more people die because there's only so much that can go around. On top of all of this the US and the world spends over 190 billion dollars a year on things that obese people need in medical costs (Welch). Even more eye opening should Surgeon General declaration that obesity is the 2nd most preventable death next only to smoking (Johnson). So obesity cannot just be shot down as not a conflicting issue, it needs to be acknowledged as a life threatening problem that must be dealt with.

Obesity is a problem, but many debate the reasons for why it starts. Though many theories have been established and also have very conclusive evidence to support their claims, none of them are the main root to where the issue of obesity truly starts. Though their analyze of the issue is very true and real, those problems all evolve from the main cause of social environment. Society's interactions lives and breathes how humans go about their lives. The latest fashions are influenced by movie stars, video games are recommended on the internet, even what foods we eat are molded from commercial advertising like Quakers and Subway. All of it transforms how we act. So in other words, if societal environment controls the majority of how humans go about their lives, then obesity also falls under that category. To make it easier to understand one could call social environment as the root of a weed for the problem of obesity. The plant sprouts its leaves which are all the other reasons for obesity, whether it be overeating, lack of exercise, or the overly addictive sugar that companies put in their foods.The solution to this is the same as gardening. One must rip the weed out of the ground, out all the way down to its roots. Examples of society's influence on the rising numbers of obese people can be seen as early as the 1970's. During this decade Americans weighed on average 8.6 kg (19 pounds) less then citizens of today (Paddock). According to the survey this was due to a higher degree of calorie intake, but the researches failed to realize why people were eating more. This of course was due to society's influence during the next coming decades. For one, TVs were affordable enough for all Americans, so more people stayed inside to watch TV. Processed food technology was really starting to hit the market, this made people fatter because the companies found it cheaper to pump in addicting ingredients rather than healthy products. Lastly, fast food corporations were able to advertise better thanks to TVs and radios. So if obesity starts from overeating its thanks to a CEO who paid for the advertising to draw that person in. If one becomes overweight because they sit in front of the TV instead of exercising, it's the inventor of the TV who gave the person the excuse to be that way. In short the social environment is the main cause to all other reasons for obesity.

The main problem of social environment controlling our lives and waistlines can be seen almost anywhere. After all society controls many aspects of our lives including our stress, company products, bullying, and how low income families eat. All of the factors mentioned are direct lines to how obesity can start thanks to society's firm grip on our lives. First, let’s talk about how stress can push us towards obesity. Stress is something that puts pressure on a person emotionally and physically. It’s something that is extremely hard to maintain and can have extreme adverse effects on someone who has little control over it. When a person feels stressed to the greatest extreme they feel trapped in their own minds, and naturally they seek an escape that may just happen to be binge eating. One such study, focused directly on how an over-stressed person may overeat to deal with the problem. The result is the person becoming overweight. The study focused on overworked nurses in several different hospitals. The statistics showed that an individual has a fifty-five percent greater chance of being obese if they worked over ten hours a day with little amount of sleep for several weeks (Trinkoff). The person in question would then develop bad habits like binge eating, becoming an alcoholic, eating unhealthy fast foods because they have no time to cook for themselves, and becoming heavy smokers. All of these factors resulted from an overworked and overstressed social environment that make them obese. Seeing how the problem of being over-stressed can come from a job, or even a demanding family atmosphere, the person becoming obese has few options to counter this.

Another instance where social environment sparks obesity comes from two different aspects in conjunction. These two things are food companies’ harmful competition with each other and the targeted low income families. To be more elaborate one must understand that any company in general has an immense desire to outsell their competition. That is no different with food companies like McDonalds and Burger King. The idea of the matter is that the companies will do whatever it takes to attract more customers, even if it means dousing extremely unhealthy ingredients into their foods. These innutritious foods make people addicted to their product and influence them to come back for more (McKay). It's a social and economic move to make more money, hence it was birthed from the social environment. People go to these companies because the food is addicting, and the more they eat the more notches on their belt go up. The companies are all but practically murdering people’s bodies with how much junk they put in their foods. One good example, would be how much salt McDonald's puts into their fries, talk about a heart attack waiting to happen. Jane Brody who researches obesity in America state how much fast food has come to addict people, "From 2005 to 2008, according to the Department of Agriculture, 20 percent of American calories were consumed in fast-food and full-service restaurants, more than triple the amount in 1977-78." Unfortunately this isn't the end of it. For because those companies have such low prices for their products, low income families are dragged into it. This is because of social circumstances that may make the individual poor. Thus, they are forced to buy things that are cheaper, and junk food is cheaper than good healthy food (Brody). Since the low income person has insufficient funds and is buying terrible foods to survive, they become heavier as a result. It’s sad that companies are more concerned about their pocket books then the 400,000 people dying a year from obesity (Welch). That is why a solution must be made to stop these terrible realities.

The last societal enigma that will be discussed is how bullying or social pressure can sink someone into obesity. The concept of this issue can generate anywhere, at a school, work place, or even in one’s own home. The idea is that if a person is bullied and is told that they are ugly, fat, and or the unideal image of a human, then they may start to believe it themselves (Crosnoe). Even if the person was just slightly heavy the person may become depressed enough from this social pressure to act like what others say they are. This depression could force some into obesity and may even chain them down for good. This is because obesity makes people less confident in themselves, it leaves them vulnerable like a turtle without its shell, and it is very hard to recover from. It is even worse with women according to Robert Crosnoe who is a professor at Texas University. Crosnoe says that women are a more prone to trying to fit in to society's image with such things as the latest fashions and looks. This in turn makes them more aggressive on how a person looks to make themselves feel more superior. This is why women's obesity is higher than men's obesity. To summarize this social pressure gives people a psychological image of themselves that may or may not be true. Regardless, this pressure forces the subject of bullying to act like what society has portrayed it as, and this act of aggression can also make someone become obese.

As discussed social issues are the main factor to why people are becoming more obese, but the real question is how one would go about stopping this crisis. Well as previously mentioned an individual must create a main system that will use all solutions to fix obesity. The solution is using government regulation to change people's social norms. Doing this will change people's perspectives so that obesity is attempted to be avoided just as much as smoking and being an alcoholic is today. As just said smoking is now regulated in the US through the government influence. There are no-smoking regulations in buildings, high taxes are placed on cigarettes, and nicotine content is controlled in companies. This has more than halved the number of smokers in the US (Welch). Today obesity has more than tripled from thirty years ago. So if drugs, smoking, and drinking can be regulated indirectly by the government then why not obesity. To go into more detail government should first educate kids to be more active and avoid obesity. According to Dr. Welch of Dartmouth University children obesity is greater than adult obesity because of overweight parental influence (remember social environment as being root cause). Thanks to adults diets, children become obese as well as a result of their influence. To help regulate this, government must start standard programs in schools to not only teach children the consequences of obesity, but also use the program to provide quality food in schools. Just like how providing greater public education will stimulate a greater population of trained professionals, providing this program will alter future citizens’ perspectives of obesity, and stop it all together. However, government intervention shouldn't stop there, just like how the government taxed cigarettes, junk food should also have a higher tax. This will make people less keen to buy unhealthy food and more obligated to purchase good foods that will be more available. These slight pushes will send people onto a path that will make them healthier, and healthier people will create a greater society that is more active, more in control, and more motivated to achieve the goals that they have in life.

The solution of the government doing more regulation on people lives could give many doubts on the effectiveness of the plan. However, as history has shown government regulation has greatly impacted the world for the better. This is simply because government controls society to a certain degree, and if government can control the social environment which is the root cause then they can stop obesity. As remarked earlier government has done this before, one major example would be the New Deal with FDR. The New Deal helped regulated the economy and the workforce through many government programs such as the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). This program is responsible for giving many people jobs during the Great Depression and is also responsible for many great public works in America today (Kelly). The New Deal is only one great show of how government regulation has fixed issues and saved people. Another case is with regulation of drugs. People now need prescriptions from doctors to get certain drugs, harmful drugs like cocaine are outlawed, and programs like DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) have kept many kids off drugs for thirty years (DiMercurio). If government programs like DARE and REAL (Refuse, Explain, Avoid, and Leave) can help kids and teenagers make good decisions that will make them great members of society, then there is no reason it can't be used effectively against obesity. Even more support can be added on, with how government has limited materials in certain products. Gun control has greatly helped communities avoid murders and crimes through taxes and the amount of ammunition one can own. So if this theory is applied to taxing certain foods that are harmful, then people will be less prone to picking out terrible foods that are expensive and more inclined to getting healthy food that will make them stronger. Dr Welch who has studied extensively on the issue of obesity for years also believes government intervention is the best solution, "Instead, I suggest the government put their muscle and money into education aimed at shifting our social norms. Pay for easier access to healthy food and daily exercise in our cities and workplaces rather than widening the seats on buses. That may sound elusively optimistic, but consider the effect on drunk driving the MADD campaign has had. Deaths due to drunk driving are half what they were before MADD made it shameful to joke about being drunk behind the wheel of a car. Legislation was involved, but there was also a profound shift in public tolerance, and ultimately peer approval may be the most powerful motivator of all." So given all of these recent and past success there should be no worries that government regulation is ineffective, for it has been extremely efficient in the past.

Now that the solution has been properly explained it is imperative to note why it is better than other solutions. One good solution would be to demand more physical activity in schools by going directly to the school's committee. Though, the committee and principles of that school district may take the option of concerned parents into account, they have no obligation to carry out the demands. On the other hand the government has the power to do just that by cutting off their funding if they don't comply, thus this makes government regulation a superior solution. Another plan to fix obesity is to provide incentive for farmers markets and local grocery stores to come in and provide healthier food. In theory this could work by gathering a donation fund or a pension that says they will go to their business if they provide the healthy food (CDC). Though this could work to bring good food to the community and stop obesity, government tax dollars are a for sure thing that would definitely support the project and could also make certain they follow up on their word. The government could regulate what they bring in and could support them long term, unlike an average group of citizens who can only provide so many funds. Another solution is making suburbs more suitable for physical activity by raising money in the community, this in turn will create more desire for kids to exercise (CDC). Even though it has a chance of working, government intervention could implement it faster, cheaper, and better. For instance, it could take years to get a license for a park to be built by ordinary people, while the government could have it done in a day. In conclusion, government regulation is the better solution, because it can take control and start all other solutions faster and in better quality thanks to its immense influence.

Of course government intervention isn't the only way to go about stopping obesity. Just as the old saying goes there is more than one way to skin a cat. The truth of the matter is that government intervention is just the best way to go about skinning that cat. Other solutions that could work against defeating the obesity epidemic, could be requiring a sports activity in middle school and high school (CDC). If this is done, kids would be required to exercise and learn many good life lessons about discipline and good teamwork skills. This could be done by getting communities to appeal to the school boards in their local areas. Since kids are exercising they will be less likely to become obese, and it will also make them more social instead of just sitting inside all day watching TV. In all honesty, it is a very real plan that could work, just like the solution of food regulations in school might be successful against obesity. If one were to influence the schools to only supply good healthy food for kids at lunch, then the kids will have it in their minds that the good food is the norm on how they should eat (controlling the social environment problem). Thus the easy choice for them would to be eating a salad or mango instead of a Big Mac at McDonald's. These two solutions are great ways one could go about ending obesity in our nation. Though they may not be as effective as government regulations they are for sure creditable enough in their methods to fixing the problem.

The world has many problems, but obesity is one of those problems that can be easily fixed. The problem comes from how society influences us through the environment. It can take many shapes and sizes through stress, bullying, company's aggressive adverting, and even from how much income a person makes. Though these factors can craft a recipe for how obesity starts in the social environment, it can also be used to help fix the problem. In other words, the solution to obesity is the problem that starts it. If a powerful force like government can help regulate society to a degree, then it can manipulate it to end the causes of how obesity starts. Such examples can be, starting programs in schools to educate and properly show how to make the right choices in avoiding obesity. This solution can also be used to control what is put into our foods by taxing fatty products. Government intervention has also been proven successful in the past with programs like the New Deal. It is also important to note that even though there are many other ways to end obesity, government regulation could enact those plans and fund them faster. To finish, obesity sprouts from how society interacts. That is why government should lead people down a path to make them freely choose to act better. This in time will make it the norm for there to be little to no more obese individuals.

Works Cited

Brody Jane, "Many Fronts in Fighting Obesity", New York Times, May 20, 2013.Web.Feb 11, 2014.


CDC, "Overweight and Obesity", //Center for Disease Control and Prevention //, n.d.Web. April 12, 2014


Crosnoe Robert, "Gender, Obesity, and Education", Sociology of Education (JSTOR), July 3, 2007.Web.Feb 13, 2014.

*Gender, Obesity, and Education

DiMercurio Mariana, "D.A.R.E. program remains relevant, important in our schools", Naples Daily News, October 18, 2013.Web.April 12, 2014


Johnson Suzanne Dr, "Addressing the obesity Epidemic. Don't blame the victim", American Psychological Association, Oct, 2012.Web.March 5, 2014.


Kelly Martin, "Top Ten New Deal Programs", About.comJuly 1, 2014.Web.April 12, 2014


McKay Betsey, "The ABCs of Beating Obesity", The Wall Street Journal, May 8, 2012 .Web. Feb 9, 2014.


Paddock Catharine, PhD, "US obesity due to overeating, study", M.N.T, May 11, 2009.Web.March 5, 2014.


Trinkoff PHD, Dr., "Obesity in Nurses Linked to 'Adverse Work Schedules'", American Collage of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Aug 3, 2012.Web.Feb 10, 2014.


Welch Gilbert, Dr., "The Experts: What Role Should Government Play in Combatting Obesity?", Wall Street Journal, April 21, 2013.Web.April 12, 2014


Solution Proposal Peer Review Alex Gerondale

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