genetics gun

 

Guess what? Did you know that if we make better choices and take personal responsibility their wouldn’t be an issue with obesity? In the article What You Eat is Your Business by Radley Balko he talks about holding people responsible for their own health. Expressing why should others have to pay higher premiums because someone else personal choices (468). Balko wants private health insurers to be allowed to charge obese patients higher premiums as a way to push an incentive. By making people responsible for their own health maybe it will drive for change in the amount of obese people. Best way to alleviate the obesity “public health” crisis is to remove obesity from the realm of public health (468). He believes there are a few ways to jump start this process by allowing insurance companies to reward healthy lifestyles and penalize unhealthy ones. Also give consumers health savings account allowing to roll over unused medical money into your retirement, which is another incentive on pushing people to get healthy and stop all the senseless visits to the doctor office. Also pointing out that if people realize they are fully responsible for the cost of health care and no one else is responsible anymore it will cause better choices to be made decreasing obesity.

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I agree we should take some personal responsibility for what we put into our bodies. However, as adults you can make those choices but as kids you are dependent upon someone else. Obesity doesn’t just affect the old it also affects the youth and they only know so much about personal responsibility. Balko overlooks other problems as well which affects society as a whole. There are many other factors which could cause a person to gain weight and become obese not just from unhealthy eating. One major thing we must consider is not all of society can afford to eat what is considered healthier meals or have access to the tools needed in order to make better choices. Balko should have suggested some ideas to help with those issues. Some people may want to take personal mom work memeresponsibility and don’t have the means to do it. Why punish someone because they don’t have the support to help them do better health wise? Instead of trying to charge higher premiums for unhealthy people let’s think of solutions that all can benefit from. After all, many people struggle every day in America just to get by. I remember as a kid growing up my family sometimes didn’t have the option to pick and choose meals. Sometimes you must work with what you have. Maybe all we could eat for the week was McDonalds 39 cent burgers, or frozen dinners at home. Let’s consider some of the other options like being sleep deprived, genetics, unhealthy environments, and ethnicity (NHLBI), all play a role in weight gain.race-ethnicity-620x330

Balko speaks about wanting to put the blame where it goes and stop making others pay for issues that have nothing to do with them. Well those that suffer from sleep deprivation may be unaware how it affects our bodies. There is an estimate of 50 to 70 million American people who suffer from sleeping disorders (NHLBI). Last year in America 36% of people were rendered obese (NCHS) which I agree is a lot of people. Genetics is something else we must consider when dealing with obesity. Those genes of obesity can be passed on from our families and not in our control. I’ve met people who I see eat health consciously and are just naturally bigger because they come from a genetically larger family. Not to say they are morbidly obese but based on the chart for average weight unfortunately they could be considered obese.

We must also look at the unhealthy environments some people live in and our ethnical backgrounds. Growing up in an urban area I can say we didn’t have many stores that offered healthy foods. In many urban areas these cities are filled with fast food and unhealthy options every few blocks. When you go to a more suburban area more options are available to them. In the article Don’t Blame the Eater Zinczenko agrees with just this issue and says “complicating the lack of alternatives is the lack of information about what, exactly, we’re consuming”. Zinczenko is saying not only are healthy options limited, but there is no health information such as calories available on the foods they must eat in these areas to allow better choices, Now, Balko says we will be “bringing government between you and your waistline (466)” by creating programs to help with anti-obesity initiatives instead of pushing personal responsibility. So in other words Balko feels obesity is not a government issue so stop  letting them make decisions for us when we need to be accountable for ourselves. Were the cause of our obesity issues no one else. But, I believe  in environments such as urban area’s, programs could help decrease obesity and that is the goal regardless of how we get there. Maybe our personal health is our business but if government allows the unhealthy places to make a home in the urban areas, then why not have government help with fixing a problem they are partially to blame. Another thing missing in some environments could be safe places to walk and get everyday activities in helping decrease weight gain (NHLBI). Also ethnicity is another factor one must look at. It has been discovered that obesity is highest in Blacks, then Hispanics, and lastly Whites (NHLBI). Proving that regardless of what one may consume chances of obesity is already higher for certain ethnicities than others. If it was black and white as Balko has made it appear than these factors wouldn’t matter, but because we can back up this information we must consider them as part of the problem.

Granted Balko does address some valuable points about making people more accountable for themselves and the unfairness having to pay higher medical premiums due to others poor choices. Balko could have given more options how to change and address the issue. What exactly would he like to be done besides quick fixing with personal responsibility? Looking at a few other factors out there which have been proven to cause weight gain showing it’s not just unhealthy behaviors causing a problem. We now know that additional things like genetics, ethnicity, and the environment play a role in the developing of obesity. I say utilize government and the community you live in to help with providing awareness of the obesity issues. Also come up with ideas to help in decreasing unhealthy eating and obesity. Like some of the ideas mentioned in the article, federal funding for bike trails, no junk food in school vending machines, maybe even getting schools to offer healthier options for lunch (466). Better solutions create better results in my opinion and obesity is not just a personal responsibility issue when it affects many.

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Works Cited

CDC National Center for Health Statistics Data Brief (NCHS)

September 1st 2016 www.cdc.gov/obesity

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)

February 23rd 2017 www.nhlbi.nig.gov

Graff, Gerald Birkenstein, Cathy and Russel Durst. They Say I Say with Readings 3rd edition

What You Eat Is Your Business. Balko, Radley pp.466-469 May 23rd, 2004

Graff, Gerald Birkenstein, Cathy and Russel Durst. They Say I Say with Readings 3rd edition

Don’t Blame the Eater. Zinczenko, David pp.463

New York Times November 23,2002