I agree with this article in that this so-called obesity epidemic has nothing to do with willpower but everything to do with our food supply ["The Obesity Epidemic Isn't Just About Willpower," usnews.com]. Specifically—the American food supply and American style of eating over the last 30 years or so. These huge food corporations are including ingredients in our food (high fructose corn syrup, MSG, transfats) that are directly responsible. How does 66 percent of the population become overweight or obese? If it was just "willpower" involved, maybe 10 percent to 15 percent of people would be affected. Notice that when once previously healthy immigrants come to this country and start eating "American style," they become obese. Also a factor in the spread of obesity worldwide is the export of "American style" eating and foods. I would like to see all junk food—chips, cookies, sodas, candy, and so forth taxed. This is not a sin tax; it's a means of getting money to deal with the health problems caused by this toxic food. The purpose is to have the products causing all the problems contribute to the solution. We do it with cigarettes, why not with our toxic so-called food?
Comment by Lisa P. of CA
Folks, I hate to break it to you, but this has nothing to with "genes." It has everything to do "tough love" and the family. This is what happens when you have a breakdown in the family home. Parents aren't there to watch the kiddies eat and give them money for McDonald's (yeah, that's nutritious). The media, medical community, and public think tanks push the "genes" and "calories" propaganda when the truth is all about nutrition and exercise. Physiologically speaking, human beings are meant for constant motion, creating energy and burning energy. We are not meant for TV, Internet, sitting in the office for 12 hours a day. This has everything to with "willpower." Unfortunately, nobody is bold enough to tell the truth.
Comment by Greg of IL
Dr. Bernadine Healy makes some excellent points, and it is to be hoped that more people will come to realize that the blame game is counterproductive, and actually wrong. There are more fat people these days, but people have always come in all shapes and sizes. That doesn't make persons of size morally inferior or less attractive; they're just big! For many people, all the arguments about health are a smokescreen for their real complaint: They don't like how fat people look, and they are afraid of gaining weight themselves. This is called "fatphobia."
Comment by Bill Fabrey of NY
This is an informative article...but the author doesn't make the case for why there shouldn't be a tax on sugary drinks. If the tax on sugary drinks will discourage fat people from drinking them, what would be wrong with that? Sugary drinks are only bad for people, especially fat people and those predisposed to being fat. High tax has shown to discourage cigarette smoking, so it probably also will discourage the drinking of sugary sodas. Which will only be good for the health of Americans.
Comment by Steve Wang of PA
I think there are several factors that contribute to obesity, but ultimately willpower does have a lot to do with it. Everyone is built differently and will have to take care of themselves differently in order to prevent serious weight gain. Some people are lucky and are born thin and have to do very little in the way of exercise to maintain their physique and others are just he opposite...they will have to work extra hard just to maintain a healthy weight. I think the biggest problem is that healthier and organic foods have proven to be more expensive. It is almost if as a society we encourage people to be unhealthy...it seems counterproductive. The last glaring problem is that most people work office jobs and are forced to be inactive for eight hours or more during the day while they are consuming the same amount of calories. I think offices should encourage lunchtime walks or some sort of activity.
Comment by Nellie of KY