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Managing & Preventing Obesity

6 Pages   |   1,327 Words
Health issues across the globe have continued to range from those conditions that can be managed and prevented by individuals to those which require urgent medical attention. One of such issues that can be managed and prevented is obesity. Obesity can be defined as a medical condition where there is an accumulation of excess body fat which may lead to health problems (Berg, 1999). Cases of obesity have raised much concern and even surpassed attention that was being paid to cases of malnutrition and other infectious diseases. This health issue has invaded both developing and developed countries alike and the problem is even considered to be more serious with increased cases of childhood obesity. Obesity has been found to have adverse effects on the health of individuals; obesity can lead to hypertension, coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes among other health complications. Basing on other causes of obesity, essay is going to focus on why the responsibility for preventing and managing obesity lies with individuals themselves and not with the food industry. This can be argued in the light of other factors causing obesity apart from excess consumption of junk food. The limits of the essay will be on other factors that cause obesity.

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First, the major cause of obesity has been found to be increased consumption of junk food by individuals (Kolata, 2007). Such foods normally have a high fat content as compared to other kinds of foods. Excess consumption of such foods will mean that there will be accumulation of fats in the body which is a predisposition for cases of obesity. However, normal consumption of junk food has been found to have no direct cause to obesity. This therefore refutes the idea that the responsibility for managing and preventing obesity lies with the food industry. Even though the food industry does not determine or influence the excessive consumption of such junk food, it should warn that excess consumption leads to cases of obesity. It is how the individual consumes such foods that can lead to cases of obesity. Without a doubt, the responsibility lies more with the individuals consuming junk food as they are the only people who can check on their eating habits to minimize the consumption of junk food (Dickens, 1998). The rate of consumption therefore is determined more by the individual and not the food industry. Moreover, individuals who have consumed junk food moderately have been found to have no cases of obesity.

Another argument is that obesity is also caused by other factors apart from excessive consumption of junk food. However, there is the issue of genetics where obesity has been found to run down the family line. Genes have been found to influence processes that are related to weight in the body which include blood glucose metabolism, the metabolic rate and fat storage. All these play a significant role in determining whether an individual will be obese or not. Even though studies have revealed that children who are born to obese or overweight mothers have a tendency to be less active as compared to children born to mothers who are not overweight, junk food also plays some part. (Kopelman, 2005). The study further indicates that children born to obese mothers normally gain weight by the age of three months which is a disposition to obesity. Furthermore, normal weight children who are born to obese mothers have been found to have a lower metabolic rate, which means that a lot of fat is stored in the body instead of being consumed. In the end, such children are bound to have weight issues in their adulthood hence obesity. In essence, it can be seen that the food industry plays no role in influencing obesity as it is genetically inherited and therefore the responsibility lies more with the individuals.

Family influence has also been rated as a major cause contributing to obesity, which is well beyond control by the food industry. However, a family will have different behavioral patterns concerning what they go for shopping, what kind of foods they buy, what they cook and eat among other factors. Such will bear great influence on the energy balance by a child which will ultimately influence their weight (Levy-Navarro, 2008). Even though the kind of diet and lifestyle a child gets exposed to will greatly determine whether the child will grow to be an obese adult or not, junk food cannot be ruled out. The kind of foods preferred by the family will thus play a crucial role in influencing the occurrence of obesity in a child. If the family prefers food that is high in fat content, the children are bound to be obese and this cannot be determined by the food industry as it does not influence their shopping habits. In modern life, shopping habits are majorly determined by the amount of money one has, his tastes and preferences and the kind of lifestyle one is leading. These are well beyond the control of the food industry.

Another argument that disputes the responsibility of obesity management as resting on the food industry is the need to exercise in order to increase energy expenditure. Exercise is recommended for good health because it increases energy expenditure which contributes to burning of calories and accumulated fat. Nevertheless, exercising largely depends on the willingness of the individual to do such activities and not on the food industry as such. Individuals may decide to do exercises due to various reasons. Whilst individuals may be exercising for various reasons, avoiding obesity is rated as the core reason. Consumption of junk food in appropriate amounts will not lead to such health complications (Keller, 2008). Without a doubt, the food industry will play an insignificant role in influencing the exercising tendencies by an individual and the responsibility will rest much with the individual in efforts to manage and prevent obesity.

Furthermore, it has also been established that some cases of mental illnesses and the substances that are used in their treatment increase the possibility of a patient being obese. However, such cases are rare and much of the blame has been placed on the food industry. Such illnesses include genetic syndromes that are rare together with some other congenital conditions like a deficiency in the growth hormones. While this may be true, junk food is also an issue to consider therefore, the risk of having obesity runs high in individuals who have psychiatric disorders as compared to normal individuals (Michael, 1997). In essence, such a factor cannot be influenced by the food industry in trying to prevent and managing obesity.


In conclusion, this essay has shown that obesity is caused by different factors and not just consumption of junk food from the food industry. Though the food industry has been blamed for causing obesity, it does not have much significance since the eating habits are greatly influenced by the individuals themselves. Consuming the junk food in the right proportions has been found to have little or no cause to obesity (Pool, 2001). The responsibility therefore lies with individuals themselves and not with the food industry. 
Berg F 1999, “Health risks associated with weight loss and obesity treatment programs” Journal
of Social Issues, vol. 55, Issue 7, pp.  277–297.
Dickens, M 1998, Obesity: Who is to Blame. New York: Columbia University Press
Keller, K 2008, Encyclopedia of Obesity. Thousand Oaks, Calif: Sage Publications, Inc.
Kolata, G 2007, Rethinking Thin: The new science of weight loss – and the myths and realities of
dieting. Picador.
Kopelman, G 2005, Clinical obesity in adults and children: In Adults and Children. Blackwell
Publishing. pp. 493.
Levy-Navarro, E 2008, The Culture of Obesity in Early and Late Modernity. Palgrave
Michael, F 1997, The Fat of the Land: Our Health Crises and How Overweight Americans can
Help Themselves. New York: Penguin Books.
Pool, R 2001, Fat: Fighting the Obesity Epidemic. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

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