Stemming the rising tide of obesity

Feds need to take leadership role on rising obesity rates. Troy Media, March 3, 2016.

A recent article in a Canadian paper about the rising tide of obesity in Canada. The numbers match ours. Though certain states in the US are lower than others, for instance Colorado versus Alabama, the fact that obesity has been on the rise since the 1980s in both countries is reason for much alarm. After all, with rising obesity comes much co-morbidity including more heart disease, strokes, and diabetes along with more school and work absenteeism.

The article reports that the Canadian government perceives the obesity problem as comparable to the problem with smoking. It is a public health issue that needs to be addressed. A multi-pronged approach is in all likelihood going to be implemented. This would include higher taxes on high sugar drinks, easier access to healthy foods, and the removal of many commercials from the media that encourage kids to consume fatty, sugary and carbohydrate-heavy foods.

How far the Canadian government will be able to proceed is yet to be determined. In our country, so many of these ideas would be hard to implement, given the blow-back from the food and beverage industries and the power these industries wield in terms of lobbying Congress and campaign contributions.

But the problem is unrelenting and cannot simply be denied away. Indeed obesity continues to become more and more prevalent. Childhood obesity has at its center the problem of unhealthy diet, poor exercise habits, and too, too much time spent instead glued in front of TV sets by too many young people.

Until we are willing to see the problem as a public health emergency comparable to smoking, we can expect many children to grow plumper and plumper and less and less healthy.