It seems only fitting that the first post (after my welcome post that is) be a comment on an article that I came across in the Op-Ed section of the New York Times today (click here for article). Titled “The World is Fat (Especially America)”, it discusses a recent study published in journal BMC Public Health that sheds light on the global impact of the growing problem of obesity.
Deciding to get healthy can be a wonderful personal decision with numerous personal benefits. However, I am very much of the philosophy that we each have a responsibility to each other, towards other individuals on day to day basis and to the world as a whole. Obesity not only affects the economy via the health care system, but it also places an undue burden and weight (no pun intended) on other areas. As noted by the study, food demand in countries with higher levels of obesity is greater than those without. Strikingly enough, were the entire world to eat like Americans it would be equivalent to adding 473 million adults (of average BMI) to the world’s population. In terms of sustainability that number is staggering. It certainly turns on its head the issue of “population control”. Perhaps we shouldn’t be so worried about the number of mouths to feed on the planet, but rather the amount of food going into each mouth. This is capitalism. We can’t all have it all. But what one person should?
The health care debate is a prime example of the traditional model that America follows for solving its problems. Do what you like, however you like, and we’ll throw something else at it later to counteract the consequences. In the health context that means, eat what you like, remain as inactive as you like, and when symptoms of (insert leading cause of death here) start to happen we’ll shove expensive medications down your throat or use a highly invasive expensive surgery to “correct” the problem for however long that lasts. That model is clearly unsuccessful and unsustainable. Just some food for thought. Less depressing and cynical posts to follow, I promise.