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Could the government prevented you from becoming obese?

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Old 06-02-2009, 03:24 PM   #1
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Default Could the government prevented you from becoming obese?

I was just reading this article in Newsweek about how a poll showed that there was a jump in the number of obese people in the US this last year.

The article goes on to ask what the government is doing about it saying, "Governments are stepping in to help encourage people to make healthier choices: In some states, the government has taken an active role in battling the bulge by banning trans fats, while the Senate is contemplating a tax on sugary drinks. In Italy, local governments are offering cash incentives for those who lose weight. But even with incentives, the odds are against those who've already gained weight, including the newly obese as reported in this Gallup survey. "We don't see a lot of decline in aggregate terms of population levels," says Clarke. "We're just seeing a steady increase."

My political beliefs lean heavily toward less government involvement in our daily lives so this just irked me. Looking back on my life as a fat person, no government program could have prevented it and I would not have expected it to (and in fact resent any meddling in my life by them!). I accept full responsibility for my unhealthy actions and despite the outcome, appreciate that I have the freedom to make my own choices, even bad ones.

Do you believe the government could or should have saved you from obesity? Or do think that it's a matter of personal responsibility and the government should stay out of it?
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Old 06-02-2009, 03:29 PM   #2
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My beliefs are probably very similar to yours. I'm responsible for the choices I've made in life (including what foods I ate and how much I've exercised).

I'm all for educating the public about making healthier choices, but I don't believe in big brother telling people who is best *for them*.
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Old 06-02-2009, 03:33 PM   #3
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Government keep me for obesity? NO (I echo the sentiments of the above about government)

I chose the food and exercise for me, but hey if they want to offer an incentive for me to take it off, no shame in getting paid to do what I am already doing.
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Old 06-02-2009, 03:38 PM   #4
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No. It serves as an excuse for lots of people, IMHO, to eat poorly and not take responsibility for the consequences.

It is so interesting to see that if you look at obesity and ask the question "why?", sociologists say that society is to blame. Doctors view it as a health issue. Psychologists/Psychiatrists say this is an inner battle. Addictionologists say this is a diease of food addiction. Economists say it is an economic issue. Government views this as a policy and taxation issue. And this brings to mind the old adage:
"If you are a hammer, every problem is a nail"!
meaning that those agencies view the problems through their narrow persepectives that their training provides, and maybe the REAL problem isn't being addressed.

Anyways, I say to heck with all of that! I am old enough to take responsibility for my actions. I ate too much. I moved too little. I got fat. Now I have to deal with the consequences. And I choose to move beyond the "whys" to acting on it...

Now, I'm all for the governemental tax credit for kids' sports costs that those in Canada get! I wish it applied to all gym memberships! Or any sports activity. Any tax break would be great! And junk food in schools is just wrong, on so many levels...

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Old 06-02-2009, 03:40 PM   #5
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The government could NOT have prevented me from getting fat. HOWEVER I am ALL FOR reducing HFCS and transfats in prepackaged food. Especially when it`s marketed towards children.
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Old 06-02-2009, 03:44 PM   #6
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No, the government has nothing to do with my situation. I wish they were a lot less involved in our daily lives. I don't have a problem with them providing education, but do not mandate changes.

We are responsible for our choices. We need to make sure WE know what we are eating and what we give our kids.
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Old 06-02-2009, 03:45 PM   #7
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I'll play devil's advocate and disagree here. I'd like to see more regulation over food in the US. Much of what is sold in American grocery stores these days was not even classified as food 50 years ago or didn't even exist as food. If we weren't so bombarded with junk at every corner and had more options for healthy foods (esp in restaurants) I truly think the obesity epidemic wouldn't be as bad as it is. While I agree that we all have choices, many of us experience obesity and weight gain before we even reach adulthood - before we have the maturity to make good eating choices. I don't advocate for getting rid of ice cream and potato chips, but I do think our government can do a better job of keeping things like trans-fats and high-fructose-corn-syrup of the shelves. We know these things are terrible for the human body and actually increase the likelihood of obesity. We have perfectly delicious real fat and sugar and we are clear on the risks. Aren't those good enough?
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Old 06-02-2009, 04:02 PM   #8
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i'm going to disagree i'd imagine the drill is the same there as here. junk is cheap quality costs. for example should you choose to go to maccy d's for example milk costs the equiverlant of 2.50 a pint. where as you can get a mega soda for half that.

in the shops its the same you can pick up chocolate bars for 30p but a flapjack or something similar is at the cheapest 50p.

at the very least the government should tax all junk food and drink so they are sold at a comparable price to healthy foods. this will make it a straight choice for the consumer over diet and taste as opposed to budget.
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Old 06-02-2009, 04:05 PM   #9
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I think the government is responsible for me being as fat as I was (just joking! Just wanted to know what it felt like to blame the gov for something that wasn't in their control )

It's sad to even consider that the government would have to step in on something like this. It amazes me at the sparkling business ethics these food companies have...all in the name of the almighty buck.

The bad stuff is cheap, the public is uneducated about their health and the majority has this "might as well die eating this yummy fat drenched food!"...on one hand I say ban the unhealthy crap but is that really the answer?

On the other hand I would love to see the blinders ripped off of people's eyes. Kind of like what my mom did when she caught me trying to smoke when I was 13 (she's a retired nurse)...what did she do? Took me to the basement of Charity Hospital in New Orleans and showed me this nasty black lung in a jar, then she showed me a regular lung. Not a nice tactic but it worked
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Old 06-02-2009, 04:13 PM   #10
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the only way you can achieve this is parity on price which means taxing junk food into line with health food.

a family on a budget is more likely to buy bulk junk food meals that are cheap and have spare cash to put aside for other things than to buy more expensive quality food.
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Old 06-02-2009, 04:18 PM   #11
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Si, taxing junk food would be the most regressive of taxes. It will end up making poor people poorer. The key here is education, not government intrusion.
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Old 06-02-2009, 04:18 PM   #12
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I'm all for less government, but when situations become an epidemic then perhaps it's high time someone take some initiative. Especially, starting with our children and educating them and getting them more active in school. I'm all for incentive programs for losing weight. It may not be your cup of tea, but it may for the next man. Tax breaks, for gym costs and lower prices for healthier food. I would be all for taxing junk food. That's the problem now. Low income families, especially larger families tend to buy in bulk, and what they are buying isn't healthy rather something that will last more than a day. More bang for their buck! This is where the governments focus should be. Finding a way, for lower income families to actually afford healthy food's.
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Old 06-02-2009, 04:19 PM   #13
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I think the government should take a radical and proactive approach to healthy eating with the banning of outlets that sell sometimes literally life threatening foods - as in ready meals, restaurant meals etc, not the banning of individual foods, if people choose to deliberately create gutbusters for themselves, who can help?
I also think there should be an insistence on healthy eating education from cradle to grave, the kind that's unembarrased, matter of fact and factual. Sure people can choose bad choices but I truly believe most peoples' bad choices are made out of genuine ignorance, not malice.
Of course, it needs a change of mindset in the population though: too many people reject advice from all sides as a matter of free choice. I'm not convinced we should allow people the free choice to kill themselves/burden the health service.
I think our government should be less prescriptive about very many things but take things like the nation's health extremely seriously.
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Old 06-02-2009, 04:22 PM   #14
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Yeah but taxing junk food is just going to have them buy it at higher prices just like people that smoke just fork over the extra cash. Sure there are a few that quit but not clearly as close as the ones still paying.

Just think....
Without educating ourselves in the beginning we have no idea what to really buy right? We start off with lettuce, etc that we know are typical diet foods, the lucky few in weight loss come here or have other help and we find guidance/education that helps us on the journey. Is it worth it to the people if they tax all this stuff? No unless they totally jump up their health campaign....but I have a feeling that the government would be just like the greedy food companies. They'd like that money coming in too much.
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Old 06-02-2009, 04:27 PM   #15
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Why not tax the crap even if it doesn't stop people from buying it, then take the tax money and funnel it into improving/esablishing universal school breakfast/lunch programs and after school sports programs? And public health education? Give kids a chance at health 2 meals of the day and estabishing a healthy view of exercise...

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