What You Eat Is Your Business: Here is why.
American lives as the citizens know it is taking a detrimental shift on the scale of health, especially in regards to how many Americans are becoming obese more and more every day. In turn, this has risen their healthcare cost and price of doctor visits for everyone in the U.S. Within the past 50 years, percentages of how many people who are obese in America has risen from 10% to over 33% and is only going to get worse from here on out (Procon.org). The citizens of America/world must become more educated and invested in their personal health before it is too late to remedy.
As many of you know I am huge when it comes to eating healthy and being our best.
The alarming statistics are reason enough to analyze some of the health problems, and what others are saying about it.
Every day more people are speaking out on what Americans could do to help alleviate this circumstance, and one person, in particular, stands out, Radley Balko, who is taking the offensive on this matter. Balko wrote “What You Eat Is Your Business,” which tackles obesity and the way that the citizens should be addressing it as a whole. Balko takes the approach of informing his fellow citizens on the importance of their health and the way they choose to live their lives. It is to make the point of how people need to take ownership of their own well-being. Balko takes it to the point where he addresses how the government involvement “is the wrong way to fight obesity” (467). It is far from a lie to say that the government isn’t helping as much as they could be. America needs to be promoting healthy habits and creating more preventive courses, instead of trying to place a “band-aid” on the problem by, for example, making a tax for fats.
Balko supports his critical reasoning by saying “your heart attack drives up the cost of [American citizens] premiums and office visits” (467). Then Balko proceeds to say, “For decades now, America’s healthcare system has been migrating towards socialism” (467). Balko suggests that the U.S. needs to instead shift towards instilling a sense of responsibility and ownership in its citizen own health and well being, as opposed to manipulating or intervening in the way Americans are choosing to live their lives.
I do concur with Balko on the matter that the obesity crisis needs to be reframed. However, I do not agree with the way that Balko is portraying his opinions. The idea that everyone needs to change now before it is too late is true, not just in the U.S. but globally. But when Balko says, “We’ll all make better choices about diet, exercise, and personal health when someone else isn’t paying for the consequences of those choices,” he offers a subjective and opinionated statement that many Americans will find off-putting. Nevertheless, there is some truth to his statement, but simply saying that isn’t going to create change, and at worst will make people even more inclined to continue their habits out of spite. If Americans don’t become educated on the importance of learning and understanding these subjects the citizens may always be in this crisis, regardless of what measure that is taken by the people to resolve the current healthcare issue.
Balko communicates how politicians and government are wasting their efforts by earmarking $200 million budget for anti-obesity. I agree that the money could be used more effectively, but the question that citizen would be compelled to asked is“what would the alternative spending limit be used for?” Matters like these are based on subjectivism and takes trial and error to fully comprehend the best alternative action to take. One method that the people need to test is using the funds to create a reward system where people who live a healthier life could be eligible for discounts on their premiums. For every healthy meal, a citizen eats they would gain a certain amount of points, and the same could go for anything else that promotes healthy habits like working out or walking. After they inquire so many points that could use them to redeem a particular premium package deal that lowers the price the healthier the applicant is. This would not only be a cost-effective and “fun” way to shift the people’s perspective about personal well-being but would also be an innovative way to promote healthy habits. This would also help with not “wasting” any of the government budgets because they are empowering the citizens to be healthier themselves. Balko would also say that prohibiting soda and sugary snacks from institutions is futile. To say placing restrictions on what the American citizens can and can’t eat may not be the best measure is one thing, but to say that it is the opposite of it is an entirely different matter that Americans need to discuss.
Most students are at an impressionable age, and after being conditioned to sugary food for so long it is the “norm” for most all Americans, and because of this and their stage in psychological development, they lack the logical reasoning capabilities to restrain from the sugary food that has been so well-integrated into their regular eating habits (psychologicalscience.org). For the U.S. to have a sustaining and impactful change it will require more than simply having classes where professors teach healthy eating habits, but will also need to place limitations on what is allowed in school and restaurants. The level of restrictions that Balko suggests is to limit it all and ban unhealthy foods which are extreme and would turn off a lot of people who feel like it is too capitalist of a tactic. Instead, the limits should do away with the foods that have a high coalition of causing health issues, and allow the citizens themselves to take a final vote on if they approve of the limits or not. Many citizens will see this as too complex and radical of a task to apprehend, but if it were to be added to the “reward program” it would make it easier to initiate and monitor. It has been proven that people don’t like to be told what to do but instead like to figure it out for themselves (psychologicalscience.org). Doing this would allow the people to decide what is right or wrong on their own accord.
It is clear that there is more than meets the eye in regards to the complexity of healthcare and what should be done about it. Teaching education of health to Americans in the school system and in government organizations on how to handle obesity and its health care reform is crucial. Balko stands firm with the opinion that everyone should fend for themselves, but if the citizens decide to do that how many people will be left behind due to our animalistic way of thinking about obesity, healthcare, and the government? The time to take charge of your well-being is now, one day and bite at a time.
What are your thoughts on the matter?
Is there a better way? Should it matter? And what would you change?
Join the conversation.
We are all in this together but it all starts with you! You are creating history!
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Balko, Radley. “What You Eat Is Your Business.” They Say/ I Say, with Readings, edited by, Gerald Graff, Cathy Birkenstein, and Russel Durst, 3rd edition,
Norton, 2015, pp 466-470
Halonen, Jane. “Teaching Tips on Critical Thinking.” Association for Psychological Science, edited 1996 APS editing team. https://www.psychologicalscience.org/observer/on-critical-thinking
ProCon, “US Obesity Levels.” The Leading Source For Pros & Cons of Controversial Issues, revised edition, 2018, by ProCon editing team,