“What You Eat Is Your Business”, by Radley Balko, overall message is that Americans are responsible for the choices that ultimately affect their health. Balko goes on to say that banning junk food from school, adding “fat tax” to high-calorie produce, and getting politicians involved in the anti-obesity movement will not prevent Americans from making unhealthy choices in their diets. The government puts in place certain regulation regarding health concerns, but as individuals, the decision is ultimately up to us. More times than not we choose the unhealthier path, with flagrant disregard to the health risks that fatty foods carry. As a society, the American people should take precautions regarding our health, rather than relying on our health care system to set guidelines to keep us healthy. Balko explains how Americans tend to visit their healthcare providers more frequently, than those who pay out of their pockets, because often times health insurance cover the medical fees but if this luxury were taken away, people would take necessary precautions to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The essay ends with the statement of us making better choices, such as, dieting, exercising, and personal health as long as others don’t pay for our consequences.
Unlike Zinczenko’s essay “Don’t Blame the Eater” he discusses that fast food chains should understand the cheap, easy and high calorie foods target children and have increased the spread of diabetes. At the time calorie information was not presented to customers unless requested. Zinczenko suggest that if customers knew how much was in their meal they would pick an alternative choice. We can now realize that is not true, since fast food chains are required to display the calorie intake but that has not stopped Americans. We can agree that Americans are not being force-fed by the fast food companies, a point that needs to be emphasizing since so many people blame the fast food chains. Americans are fully aware of the health risks and continually choose to pay no attention to them. Although I disagree with much that Zinczenko says, I fully approve his conclusion of having consumer’s attention of the calorie intake. With the display of calories, in meals we choose to eat, we start understanding how much of an affect can a high-calorie food intake has on our bodies. From there Americans can then decide to put the burger down or to have a salad and after go for a five mile run. Ultimately it is still the Americans preference of personal health they would like for themselves.
As Freedman mention, in his article “How Junk Food Can End Obesity”, McDonald has been making minor healthy modifications to their menu overtime, sometimes going unnoticed to the public’s attention. For example the McLean Deluxe was introduced to the consumers after taste testing gave the thumbs-up. The public did not respond too well to the extra-lean beef infused with seaweed extract burger forcing McDonald to take it off the list of meal options and never to be spoken of the mistake again. Since the downfall of the McLean Deluxe, fast food chains have advertised any new healthy items to the public as still flavorsome, since healthy food has a stigma of not being appetizing. Freedman quotes McDonalds’ vice president Greg Watson, “We’re not making any health claims; we’re just saying it’s new, it taste great, come on in and enjoy it” (Freedman 528). This makes a clear indication that Americans do not want the healthy choice. Fast food companies have tried and failed to introduce the healthier alternate to the consumers in the hopes of having some of the blame taken off of them. But as time and time as shown us, we go to the fast food restaurants for the greasy meat and for the salty fries at an affordable price, there is no disagreement about, or else we would stay home, spend an one or two to make a full meal healthy or not. Even at home you can cook yourself a high calorie meal for dinner; it is not always from a fast food place.
Balko makes strong arguments, which I agree with, that what we eat is a choice we make and choosing to resolve our health is our responsibility, not others. The government and health insurance companies should not have to step in and hold restrictions for obese Americans to make improved health choices. If we permit the government to control our meals what next will be taken away from our freedom as Americans. As we take responsibility of what we put in our bodies we then make better choices of what we consume or when next to go to the fitness center. Our motivation increases and obesity levels in our society will decrease quickly. In the essay it was stated, perhaps those who are overweight should pay more in their health care which I strongly disagree with it is unfair and discouraging. Americans put their faith in too much on the government to step in and to repair their problems. The government will want to stop the obesity epidemic by having health care discover a solution. Balko states, “We’ll all make better choices about diet, exercise, and personal health when someone else isn’t paying for the consequences of those choices” (Balko 469). The solution is ourselves, we must take the first steps, and we must accept our health choices. Stopping by putting the blame on others, and hoping they will fix it, but put the fault on ourselves.
Balko, Radley. “What You Eat Is Your Business”. Cato Institute. May 23, 2004.
Freedman, H. David. “How Junk Food Can End Obesity”. Atlantic. July/August 2013.
Zinczenko, David. “Don’t Blame the Eater”. New York. The New York Times. November 23, 2002.