Poll finds Americans split on obesity fight
A recent poll finds Americans split on how the government should help fight the U.S. obesity epidemic.
Many surveyed — eight in 10 people — were OK with steps to encourage exercise in schools, a move that makes sense since children spend the majority of their day in the classroom.
Yuma schools are already making moves in that direction without government prodding. Over 2,000 students from four elementary schools took part in the Yuma Regional Medical Center's Mileage Club School Program last year, logging 47,257 miles.
However, most Americans felt that while it was OK to require more exercise in schools, they drew the line at other measures.
Six in 10 of those surveyed opposed a tax to target unhealthy foods, and only one-third felt that it was a community problem that the government, schools, health care providers and the food industry should be involved with.
Why? It all boils down to self-responsibility. Many felt that obesity often stems from the person — one is responsible for what one ingests, as well as how often one exercises, and government legislation can only go so far.
Outlawing supersized sodas, for example, doesn't mean you can't get soda. All it means is you may have to buy more, smaller containers to get the same amount. It removes the ease, but not the behavior. And really, there's nothing wrong with a sugary beverage, but with everything, the key is moderation — and that's not something the government can truly regulate.
There is no magic cure for obesity — it takes education, exercise and healthy eating. But even with those pieces in place, some will still struggle, because there is no simple answer to combat the role that genetics can play.
Obesity is a major health problem in the U.S.: More than one-third of adults are considered to be obese, according to the CDC. And it's an expensive problem. The CDC estimates that in 2008, medical costs linked to obesity were around $147 billion.
But government intervention isn't the answer — all legislation can do is point someone toward the answers. The people surveyed are right: Americans need to take the initiative and find the solution that works best for them.