Obesity has been on the rise in America and the rest of the world. The past decade has witnessed amazing rise in the cases of obesity. This has been blamed on many causes by varied writers. In this write up much focus is given on the article: Stuck on the Couch by Sanjay Gupta Don’t Eat the Flan by Greg Critser Supersize Me and Its Time to Stop Blaming Fat People for Their Size - by Alison Motluk
Gupta‘s reasons at to why as human beings we don’t exercise are not convincing enough. I believe that the reasons are multi varied and multifaceted. Rather than pecking everything on behavior change and human transition, other factors determine why we stop exercising. Exercise is good and healthy for all human beings at whatever level in life.
Gupta wonders why people stop exercising while it is a good thing. This leads to her reason that it is due to behavior change. This has a grain of truth in that by observing the behavior of an individual since childhood till adulthood there is a correlation between age and exercise. Thus, as we age, we tend to be more lax towards exercise and this is the cause of major diseases at old age such as obesity, diabetes and cardiac arrest. However, behavior alone cannot explain why people don’t exercise.
Growth of a human being is correlated with responsibility. As we grow up, we are faced with more responsibilities that end up taking all our time. This is not to water down Gupta’s idea that we lack time planning skills. What this means is that, as responsibilities become more, priority is given to the essential activities in life. You cannot go to exercise and starve your family, this is illogical.
At a point in time we will need finance so as to service our lives. In so doing one will get a job, start a business or do other money making chores. This means that when one gets a job more time will be devoted in the job and as such time for exercise will be limited or even not available. This is true of Gupta’s claim. In marriage she claims that time will not be available for exercise. I fully agree on this as it means additional responsibilities and time will be limited. However, marriage is a sea of squabbles. An individual rather that getting additional responsibility will get more emotional stress. As such one may have the time but lack the morale due to stress and frustrations. This may turn to other stress relieving activities such as talking and sharing with friends, and even drinking alcohol in the hope of getting solutions when sober the following day.
Greg in this article speaks boldly on Gluttony as the cause of obesity. What does gluttony means according to Greg is the bone of contention here. According to the Web dictionary gluttony is eating to excess. Is this what Greg refers to in her article? I suppose yes. Because from the church doctrine which classifies gluttony as a cardinal sin, gluttony goes past eating. It involves eating and drinking expensively, too much, eating and drinking too soon, eagerly (burningly), daintfully (Keenly) and wildly or boringly. As such when Greg refers to gluttony from the point of view of excessive eating it makes sense but referring to it according to the doctrine is totally missing the point on this. This is because obesity cannot be a factor of the cost of food you take. Costly food need not necessarily be fatty as such gluttony is not a factor of expensive food.
Greg claims that obesity is due to morality. My worry is however that, is gluttony a factor of morality or a factor of table manners and ethics? Gluttony according to Greg is morality which I stand to dispute because morality has to do with personal character while ethics is more stressing on the social system in which morals are applied. This therefore means that eating excessively is against the societies set code of conduct –ethics and not an individual morality.
Greg by arguing that gluttony is morality then she stands any critique leveled against her argument that it should be the role of the parent and counselors to talk to their kids on the same. This is because morality is outward and as such no miracle can happen for one to see to it that he or she is gluttonous without the parents and society seeing it. As such, the claim by the clerk at the bookstore that this is self help is false and Greg is right.
Motluk in this article blames the cause of obesity to the environment. There has been a rapid increase in the number of obesity cases in the US. In 1992 the obese Americans were 13 percent. A decade later, this figure has almost doubled. This has been blamed on “obsogenic” environment.
Motluk observes that, food that are dense with calories have become more readily available in the US than before. The availability of this food has compounded the problem of obesity further and as such the environment in this respect is responsible to obesity.
The gradual increase in the portion of food that one eats in America is also seen to be on the rise. This has been observed through the behavior of restaurants which has been getting more profits by increasing the quantity of food they serve to clients with an adjusting increase in the fee. The increase in portion quantity has also been observed through the study of McDonalds Humbugger .By comparing the ingredients in 1960s and to present these quantities really differs.
Physical activity has also been blamed by Motluk in her article. The time dedicated to physical activity has reduced as compared to the past. Schools have majorly focused on test performance and forgotten the idea of physical activity. In addition, it has become increasingly difficult for one to walk in US cities and travelling has overtaken walking. This has led to much driving and limited walking.
The blame on the environment for obesity is not fully right. The issue of availability of calorie food doesn’t give concrete reasons as to why obesity is on the rise. Obesity is not a sin that one has to be tempted to obesity rich foods. The availability of such foods is not a recipe to overeating them. Besides, one eats the quantity that fits his tummy and so the increasing portion concept holds little or no water at all. What I think is that though environment is responsible but not the extent of forcing one to eat obesity rich foods.
The ideas that Gupta avails as responsible for lack exercise are not concrete enough to explain the reasons for the same. Many are the factors that lead to it. Greg in her article on obesity and gluttony emphasizes on gluttony as the main cause of gluttony while Motluk fully blames on the environment. The three writer combined covers almost all aspects that are responsible for obesity. However, no single writer can fully justify his point by using only one-sided argument.
Alison, Motluk. Supersize Me: It's Time to Stop Blaming Fat People for Their Size”. 14 December 2010
Greg, Crister. Reading selection. 3 February 2003. 14 December 2010
Sanja, Gupta. Stuck on the Couch. 21 February 2008. 14 December 2010