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Public Health & Policy Responses


American citizens are mostly divided into two camps to counter obesity. While one group campaigns for personal responsibility in eliminating obesity, the other one seeks government interventions.

Those who do not want government interventions are of the opinion that their private life should not be brought under public scrutiny. They are mature enough to deal with the situation. They advocate that they themselves can handle their dietary habits to arrest the growing incidence of obesity. Government intervention would curtail civil liberty and it would be an encroachment into individual privacy, they contend.

The other group wants a government regulatory authority to prevent the selling harmful products, for instance tobacco. Many nations, they argue, are successful in arresting smoking by government interventions. The government, they demand, should be more alert in not allowing advertisements of such food products to run that are known to increase obesity, especially among children. The government should immediately frame a policy to contain the epidemic of obesity, they plead.

When concerning children, the responsibility solely lies in the hands of the parents. Parental habits largely influence a child’s life style. Mature and knowledgeable parents can handle their wards more effectively than any government policeman charting out a public policy on obesity.

Adults should be made aware of sound food habits and the need for physical activities to prevent obesity. The government can act by opening affordable gyms for large group of people to exercise in. The government can also launch awareness campaigns and enroll adults in workshops dealing with obesity problems. A balance must be struck between a need for government regulations concerning obesity and an individual’s own responsibility in the prevention of obesity.

The government can also raise the prices of obesity-prone foods to prevent people from buying them. Decreasing tobacco consumption in developing countries through government interventions in the form of mass awareness campaigns and keeping the prices of tobacco products on the high side have yielded excellent results.

The government can also regulate advertisements that urge people to go for a more sedentary life style through the use of technologically advanced gadgets. The government should appeal to its people to undertake more physical activities. In the work place, the break period could be well utilized by involving light physical exercises. The government can also make the prices cheaper of obesity related drugs and devices.

The need of the hour is more private-public joint endeavors to contain obesity among the people. Without breaching the privacy of individuals, the government can act well in order to set an example to the rest of the world in the field of obesity control.

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