The “Weight of the Nation” is a four-part documentary that explores the rise in obesity in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Institute of Medicine (IOM), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Kaiser Permanente and Michael, and Susan Dell Foundation collaborated in documentary research and findings (Fryhofer, 2012). There is a need to reduce obesity cases resulting from lifestyle change and socioeconomic factors, through fostering local produce, encouraging healthy eating, and exercising.
The rise in obesity in recent years is worrisome. 68% of Americans are either overweight or obese, increasing their likelihood of developing health-related problems or even death (Docs, 2012). There is a need to initiate obesity-preventive measures to reduce its impact on society. An increase in fat and sugars in junk food contributes to substantial caloric intake. Also, the technological advances available today reduces manual labor, resulting in a comfortable, inactive life. Unhealthy eating habits and inactivity have been normalized; most people’s days spent watching the TV all day while eating Pizza. Therefore, society needs to eliminate harmful lifestyles that contribute to obesity-related health complications that may lead to disability or death.
There is a linear relationship between obesity occurrence and socioeconomic status. The economic disparity between the wealthy and impoverished neighborhood results in less economic freedom for the latter. Healthy, fresh food is expensive and exercising facilities few in poor neighborhoods creating an environment that fosters obesity.
The government should adopt incentives which will help local farmers to offer fresh food at a lower price while discouraging fast foods. Also, they need to create a level playing field in impoverished regions by encouraging healthier, cheaper alternatives to junk food. Therefore, the government needs to address the disparity between the socioeconomic classes, by financing healthy food programs in poor regions.
Mass production of cheap, locally grown organic produce is significant in lowering the price of healthy food in the community. However, the high production cost in the US compared to neighboring countries results in cheaper imports. For groceries to buy from American farms, the local products need to be competitive. Government subsidies and other initiatives are a good way of influencing mass production while lowering the price of fresh fruits and vegetables; these efforts will ensure that the local fresh produce becomes competitive against cheap imports. Therefore, local products need government incentives to maintain competitiveness and growth against cheap imports.
Encouraging healthy eating habits is one way of reducing obesity in the community. Other efficient methods include imposing sin taxes on fast food outlet and educating the society on the dangers of fast food. It is also essential for the city to invest in exercise-based infrastructures, to encourage physical activities. My family and I live in a place where we can exercise regularly. The society should be informed on the benefits of exercising and eating healthier to avoid overweight-related complications.
The Weight of the Nation documentary highlights the effect of obesity on the American people. There is a need for society to treat obesity with the seriousness it deserves since its reduction will benefit the nation in reduced health bills and higher mortality rates. Obesity-related cases will significantly reduce once the community realizes that it is a severe problem that needs addressing. The weight of the Nation impact on the American people will determine the actions taken to mitigate Obesity-related health issues.
HBODocs. (2012, May 14). The weight of the nation [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l5rYq-G1A5M
Fryhofer, S.A. (2012). Weight of the nation: A review of the HBO series. Retrieved from https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/763786
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