Obesity has become a nationwide problem that needs to be resolved. According to statistics from the Center for Disease Control’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, “Approximately 17% (or 12.7 million) of children and adolescents aged 2—19 years had obesity” (CDC paragraph 2). According to the American Heart Association, about 30% of American children and adolescents are overweight (American Heart Association 1).

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Several factors have been linked to obesity, such as diabetes, a sedentary lifestyle, low income, eating unhealthy food, and reduced self-esteem. The question is: Who should take responsibility for the obesity epidemic, the individual or the government? This paper will explore ways that both individuals and the government have taken responsibility for reducing obesity.

Certain individuals have tackled obesity, these people feeling that it is up to them to educate Americans on unhealthy eating. People have highlighted this problem in creative ways. Morgan Spurlock has done much work to show Americans how eating fast food is contributing to negative health problems. In his documentary “Super Size Me” Spurlock did an experiment where he only ate McDonald’s fast food for almost a month. He had to halt his experiment early, due to serious health issues that Spurlock had developed. Spurlock’s blood pressure rose to dangerous heights, he gained much weight, and had unhealthy blood tests, such as high cholesterol numbers (Spurlock).

Another individual who has taken much initiative in combatting obesity is Eric Schlosser. He has focused on how the fast food industry is contributing to people becoming obesity, Schlosser challenging fast food companies to change the way they process their food. In his book, “Fast Food Nation: The Dark of The American Meal,” Schlosser discusses the fast food industry. The book focuses on bad nutritional content of fast food and health effects that have resulted from Americans’ great food consumption from restaurants such as McDonald’s, obesity an unfortunate result. Fast food ingredients and unhealthy processing makes kids more likely to gain weight and become obese. Schlosser discusses how McDonald’s fries are dipped in cotton oil and beef, ingredients with high amounts of cholesterol that can result in heart disease and hardening of the arteries (Schlosser, Fast Food Nation: The Dark of The American Meal 2-35).

In the video “The Dark Side of Fast Food: Why Does It Make You Sick / Fat / Tired / Taste So Good, “Schlosser discusses how fast food restaurants have hooked youth. Many obese 8-year-olds have had heart attacks. According to Schlosser, Americans spend $14 million each year in fast food, which ups the likelihood that the obesity epidemic will continue (Schlosser, The Dark Side of Fast Food: Why Does It Make You Sick / Fat / Tired / Taste So Good).

First Lady Michelle Obama has tackled the problem of childhood obesity. She feels that the government and individuals should reduce the obesity epidemic. The First Lady is aware of how lack of exercise in children is a major risk factor that is linked to obesity. With more kids engaging in indoor activities, kids today are more sedentary today. Michelle Obama has established a program to combat obesity and promote exercise entitled “Let’s Move.” It is a website where kids and parents can learn how to eat better, engage in greater amounts of exercise, and obtain essential information on how to become healthy. The First Lady also recognizes the financial struggles that many parents face, which makes it harder to prepare nutritious meals for kids (Lets move). Research states that the majority of preschoolers who are obese come from poverty (CDC 1). While the government is providing helpful information for parents, it is up to individuals to use this information and to apply it to their families.

New York State has felt that government should eradicate obesity. The obesity rate for youth has tripled over the past 30 years. Approximately 30% of New York State’s youth are overweight or considered obese (Obesity prevention 1). However, New York has developed a project called “Prevention Agenda 2013-2017: A Plan for Overweight and Obesity Prevention,” It focuses on examining many factors that can cause obesity, such as environmental, social, individual, economic, and social components, as well as a proposal on how to manage these elements (Prevention agenda 2013-2017: A plan for overweight and obesity prevention 1).

As you can see, individuals and governments have taken responsibility for helping to curb obesity. Spurlock, Schlosser, Michelle Obama, and New York States have all tried to combat the obesity epidemic. Hopefully, all of their efforts will result in the reduction of the obesity epidemic.