Obesity has frequently been dulled as an issue in today’s day and age, whether it be because of extreme views from the body positivity movement or even efforts from various lobbyists in our government ecosystem. It’s fair to say that there have been a great number of factors that influenced the light that obesity is seen in today. Regardless of how muddled the view has gotten, it is vital for us to remember that Obesity always was, and still is, an increasing public health crisis.
This past decade has seen the rise of the body positivity movement, which holds the belief that “all human beings should have a positive body image while challenging the ways in which society presents and views the physical body.” There has been controversy with the mission of the body-positive movement, however, and it is often due to the health complications of Obesity. It’s important for me to note that this view does not apply to everyone who partakes in the body positivity movement. In some avenues, the body positivity movement has morphed into a form of ignorance.
This entails those who have argued that it is “perfectly okay: to be suffering from the disease of obesity. The issue with this narrative is that Obesity is a disease, and does significantly lower the quality of one’s life. This fact doesn’t mean that people suffering from obesity are any less deserving of respect, however. They should be valued and treated the same as others, but should also be encouraged to acknowledge their condition and seek help. Some supporters of the body positivity movement highlight that if medical professionals and other involved parties inform patients that they are suffering from obesity, they are effectively breaking the patient’s self-esteem. Being able to tell the difference caring and cruelty is important. It should not be in any medical professionals’ desire to hurt a patient’s feelings.
Another thing many don’t realize is that lobbyists have been doing a lot of work in supporting the companies who are behind the causes of obesity. Industries that produce products with incredibly high levels of sugar, salt, saturated fat, and calories have consistently been winning in the legislature. The “Food Lobby” has been effective countless times in advancing the production and mass marketing of unhealthy items by pushing for laws that lower sugar taxes, allow for confusing nutrition labeling, and influencing what is perceived as “healthy”. These efforts have definitely influenced the rise of obesity in the US. Thankfully, measures have been taken already to try and undo these dangerous laws, but there is still much more to be done. The first step is to acknowledge the problem.
“A disorder of convenience” is a newly coined term for Obesity. This is due to the issues surrounding how easy it is to live an unhealthy lifestyle in today’s current times. This is in some ways due to the before mentioned efforts of the food lobby. Junk food is on average much cheaper than its healthier alternative. This effectively makes it a lot more likely for consumers to purchase junk over healthy items, as it will save them money. This also makes it almost impossible for those in poverty to eat healthily. Junk food has also been a lot easier to access through fast-food restaurants/carts. All these factors have collectively led to the rise of the obesity epidemic.
There are obviously many factors that tie into the issue of the obesity public health crisis. There is no doubt that Obesity has been a rising health crisis, that has only continued to grow. While it is easy to get caught up in the negatives of the situation, it’s important to remember that Obesity is treatable. Proper education and care are always a good first step in doing so.
Boseley, S. (2019, January 27). Take on food industry to beat malnutrition and obesity, says report. Retrieved from The Gaurdian : https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/jan/27/food-industry-obesity-malnutrition-climate-change-report
Brown, G. (2019, January 17). Why the Body Positivity Movement is Turning Some People Off. Retrieved from Rewire: https://www.rewire.org/living/body-positivity-movement-turning-people/
CDC. (2019, November 6). Adult Obesity Causes & Consequences . Retrieved from Centers for Diseases Prevention and Control: https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/adult/causes.html
Choi, C. (2016, November 1). How the Food Lobby Effects Nutrition Advice . Retrieved from NBC News: https://www.nbcnews.com/better/diet-fitness/how-food-lobby-affects-nutrition-advice-n676266
Laskawy, T. (2012, May 2). Is the ‘obesity lobby’ winning? Retrieved from Grist: https://grist.org/food/is-the-obesity-lobby-winning/