Essay: Who's to Blame for Obesity?

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Obesity is a tremendous public and personal health issue, with a full third of all adult Americans and one-fifth of all American youth being classified as obese (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). The problem of obesity has been well documented in the mainstream media as well as in scholarly literature. However, the causes for the widespread prevalence of obesity are controversial and remain unresolved. Most medical sources classify obesity as a "disease," rather than as a symptom of underlying problems (WebMD). This classification seems counterintuitive, and it is, given the high degree of likeliness that the medical establishment uses the "disease" classification to enable the promulgation of goods and services that bolster the health care industry. In fact, doctors and other health care providers are not doing enough to curb the problem of obesity in America and are partly to blame for the problem. Obesity is often exacerbated by genetic and physiological problems that are beyond the individual's control. Yet a person's lifestyle habits have far more to do with the phenomenon of obesity, which refers not just to being a little heavy or chubby, but to being dangerously fat to the point of having other health symptoms as well. Because obesity is burdening an already overburdened health care system, it is important to place blame somewhere in the hopes of evoking policy change. The blame for obesity is shared among those who are obese, whose lifestyle habits lead to chronic weight gain, and those who are part of the health care establishment, including the politicians that support them.

Individual blame must be accepted for most cases of extreme obesity. There will always be extreme examples that defy doctors' abilitiy to help an individual to lose weight. However, most people who are morbidly obese at least have some role to play in the way their body metabolizes food. There is only so much an obese person can blame on genetics, before it becomes obvious that genetic predisposition to obesity does not necessarily mean that a person will be morbidly obese. A person can be heavier than the norm for attractiveness in America without being unhealthy. The problem with obesity is not aesthetics but health, as obese Americans are burdening the health care system with their preventable problems.

Doctors are in part to blame for the obesity epidemic. Many doctors refuse to prescribe lifestyle changes for their clients. Instead, doctors are too willing to prescribe medication that enables the client to go on eating all the fast food he or she wants, and exercising never. The person who eats too much fast food and who never exercises is likely to gain weight. That same person could become obese if genetically predisposed to do so. All health care workers -- including nurses -- can take a more active role in preventing obesity by making recommendations to clients that relate to lifestyle. Prescribing drugs is part of the problem, not part of the solution. Obesity is much more related to lifestyle choices than to faulty genes. If faulty genes were to blame for obesity, then there would be a… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Who's to Blame for Obesity?.  (2013, April 20).  Retrieved August 18, 2019, from

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"Who's to Blame for Obesity?."  20 April 2013.  Web.  18 August 2019. <>.

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"Who's to Blame for Obesity?."  April 20, 2013.  Accessed August 18, 2019.