America is the fattest nation in the world. Recent data shows that 78 million adults and 12 million children are obese in the United States. These numbers are outrageous and along with these statistics, there are more numbers that should be a concern to Americans. Data shows that one third of the American people are obese, and another one third are overweight. Twenty six million Americans have Type 2 diabetes, and 79 million Americans are at risk for developing diabetes sometime in their life. These facts show that the children of today are more likely to be the first generation to die before their parents, which is a shame.
Kelly Brownell, a psychologist and director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale, emphasizes on some key points about the obesity epidemic in an article called “Pounding Away at America's Obesity Epidemic” from the National Public Radio website. He mentions that there are some psychological, social, and financial factors that can contribute to developing diabetes. Brownell states that 50 percent of the food dollar is spent outside of the house at restaurants. This number is high because people are on the go and have hectic schedules. The problem is that when people do eat out, they tend to eat more and worse than they would at home. He also states that because health care costs are close to $150 billion a year, the peoples’ wallets will be greatly affected even if the people themselves are not affected with the actual obesity issue.
In his interview, Brownell also talks about changes in the food environment, marketing to children, and the argument of whether or not the government should intervene in the peoples’ personal habits. He talks about the changes in the serving sizes and how serving sizes have increased. For example, what used to be the large size for fries at McDonald’s is now the small size. Brownell also talks about the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. This foundation is the largest funder of work on childhood obesity in America and spends $100 million a year on the obesity issue. The food industry spends that amount each year by January 4, just marketing junk food, specifically for children. The food industry is doing a bad job in developing policies that are against obesity. There is no explanation for spending so much money on marketing junk food when obesity is such a huge problem. Brownell continued to talk about government intervention in peoples’ personal habits. The main question concerning the argument is whether obesity reached a particular level of crisis that government intervention is necessary. I think that the government should be involved because it could help create a solution to the problem.
I encourage everyone to check out the article and read more about the obesity epidemic. It is a serious issue that needs to have more awareness and concern.