Comparing Two Articles on Obesity Essay

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Obesity has become a major health issue in America. According to the Centers for Disease Control, in 1990 the majority of the fifty states had an obesity rate of 20% or lower. In 2014, all but one of the states has an obesity rate of 20% or higher. The obesity rate has been escalating, especially over the last twenty years. There is an ongoing debate over who is responsible for the rise in obesity. Radley Balko’s article “What You Eat Is Your Business,” expresses his belief that the responsibility lies with each individual, not with the government. While Yves Engler’s article “Obesity: Much of the Responsibility Lies with Corporations,” places much of the blame on corporations, he blames the government as well. Even though Balko and …show more content…
Balko raises a good point when he says that there is no incentive for people to start developing healthy habits. The message Americans are receiving from the government is that they are responsible for another person’s actions, but not their own. In comparison, the tone of Engler’s writing is forthright and perceptive in the beginning of his article. He provides some chilling statistics regarding obesity. According to him, the obesity rate has doubled while the number of severely obese people has quadrupled in the past twenty years. Engler then discusses the health effects of obesity and issues a warning to his readers, “1-3 U.S. children born in 2000 will become diabetic unless people start exercising more and eating less” (Engler 173). This eye-opening yet alarming statistic calls for action. With proper diet and exercise, diabetes is a preventable disease. Engler implies that the corporations and government make it almost impossible to eat healthy because the fast food, diet, and exercise industries are extremely lucrative. “In the United States, spending on fast food now totals $110 billion annually, having increased 18-fold since 1970” (Engler 174). He then mentions that the poor neighborhoods have easier access to fast food restaurants than they do to supermarkets, hence the huge increase on money spent on fast food. Engler suggests that the government should begin to “subsidize” healthy foods, including fruits and vegetables.

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