A government controlled diet is designed on positive health basis such as obesity control and control of expenses incurred in the country’s health system. However, there is need that greater attention is paid to the food production procedures and industries to ensure the quality is under control. From this, there will be a question of quantity. Citizens have shown a trend of failure to observe the amount they consume. With this then, there is need for the government to step in. a problem arises when the public comes up to state that their personal tastes and preferences is being overlooked; they are justified to state so. They are controlled on how to spend their resources. Many view it as the overstepping of the government’s duties and responsibilities, having excessive control. The government’s intentions are positive clear but the characteristics of the human race are opposed to it.
Many U.S government officials and statements from their offices have reported that it is essential to watch the quality and quantity of food consumed by the citizens. For instance, Michelle Obama introduced a Hunger-Free Kids Act which is considered healthy. The project intended to minimize the portion of the school lunch, protein cut back, increased consumption of starch and limited calorie intake for all the students. The children in the country sprouted up in uproar against all this. Just like the entire population, the students were of the view that the government should not have a say on their diets. Actually one student was quoted in the New York Times stating that God gave the human race a right to choose. The government has positive motives to control the diet but there are other plans that they can adopt besides this and still achieve the goals. The government should offer guidelines, advice to consumers while they control and regulate food production but they should not control what the citizens eat.
Some of the Food Rules
According to Meredith Jessup (2010), he states that the government has been working to limit their scrumptious individual liberties. He went ahead to show that Boston officials were contemplating to ban sugary beverages from the vending machines in the city municipal buildings in an attempt that hoped to control what the employees wasted their health in. In Francisco, Gavin Newsom the then mayor used executive power to ban sugary beverages and sodas from the public vending machines which would then be replaced by soy milk products and diet drinks (Ananda, 2011).
A bill was then introduced in the state legislature by a Brooklyn Democrat that attempted to ban salt use in restaurant cooking. The same year saw the banning of trans fats from California’s 88,000 restaurants. New York City, Montgomery County, Philadelphia and Stamford adopted the same. School bake sale has been banned in many schools mainly in New York. Going further to the strictness of the issue, a single piece of candy resulted to a 10 year old to face up to two weeks detention in Brazos Elementary School in May 2010. This was in accordance to the state laws in Texas.
Much recently, the U.S Food and Drug Administration sent a letter to the renowned General Mills and it was against federal law for the company to market their company product ‘Cheerios’ which they claimed would lower cholesterol in the body. The chocolate milk from public school cafeterias has received bans from various schools in accordance with the laws given provided by the states.
Discussed above are some of the existing laws and measures and actions that have been up-taken by the government to control the citizens’ diet in various states in America. The government engages in these actions with a reason. The reasons have medical and public health meaning but the respect for human race is question. Discussed below are some of the reasons why the government regulates the citizens’ diet.
Some of the Reasons Why the Government Wants to Control What American’s Eat
In essence, the U.S government has in most instances received a pointing finger as to possessing a long tradition that controls private behavior. Actually, everything that the government engages in, there is a reason as to why that specific action is being undertaken. For example, the U.S government was involved in the Banana War in Latin American solely to prevent the spread of communism and the advantage of acquiring resources. With this tradition in mind, there are reasons as to why the same government wants to be informed and to be in control on the personal decision that every individual wants to eat.
One major reason for this action is the high cases of obesity and overweight matters. In 2001, according to Surgeon General David Satcher, he stated that overweight and obesity had reached a portion that would be termed epidemic. Since then, public interest groups, journalists, federal officials, medical experts and academics echoed the seriousness of the matter. From a medical perspective, obesity unlike other public health problems arises by a big margin from private behavior; it as a result of what people drinks and eats. It is determined by one’s diet.
Obesity then lowers an individual desire and ability to work and thus the country’s productivity would be on the downward curve. In the years, obesity has recorded a mortality of up to 300,000 deaths a year. The United States actually stands as one of the leading countries that have been hit hard by obesity. The most vulnerable group is the adolescents and the youth. With research, it is reported that an obese child between the ages of 10 and 13 has an 80% probability of turning out to be an obese adult. Now, looking at this, the government has an absolute right to take action. The government has to consider the health of its population. Despite the fact that individuals can make personal decisions, it happens that some of those actions affect the people connected. It affects the society. An example can be given when of a mother who adopts a lifestyle and diet that would probably lead to obesity. The trend will then be passed on to the husband and the children and obese cases will keep on sprouting. This can explain why statistics state that obese cases have doubled as from the 1970s in terms of percentage (Ananda, 2011).
Looking at the data above, the actions by Michelle Obama to control what children ate was out of good will. It was an action developing from the concern for the country’s future leaders and Americans who can take the country to the next level. Children in the same schools who might have developed conditions such as Down Syndrome, Autism and or similar complications would benefit from the project as well. When the kids the kids learn these concepts, the kids will appreciate and adopt a healthy lifestyle that they may practice throughout their lives. They will then influence others with this tip and their kids as well will learn to follow a balanced diet.
The U.S government is good at intervening in what seems as private behavior as it has done with alcohol consumption and tobacco abuse. Isn’t it a personal decision to decide the amount of alcohol one wishes to consume? Shouldn’t anyone smoke whenever he/she feels like regardless of the amount? Isn’t it one’s life to do whatever he wants with his or her body? Isn’t all this personal and private actions and decisions? Then, why should the government tell me or you what I should drink, smoke or eat? Since when is it wrong to satisfy my own pleasure? Even with this questions still lingering, the government is now in control and actually controls and regulates alcohol consumption and the smoking.
With the uproar on obesity, bureaucratic agencies, the White House and Congress have all reacted to the issue. The political view of obesity came into being. From a political and economic perspective, the obese tend to demand a lot of health services from the current health system. They have a tendency of developing chronic diseases such cardiovascular and many others whose management and control is very expensive. In the end, it is the tax from the same citizens who are opposing diet control that will be used to pay up the expense; Medicaid. From this then, the government intends to come up with a regulatory crackdown that seeks to minimize and may be in the future it will eliminate certain foods and beverages across the country (Barbour, 2007). This will be a forceful reshaping of the dietary habits adopted by many Americans. Obesity will be minimized in the process. Now, isn’t this an action that will save the nation?
At times, the different bodies realize that there are measures that should be taken in different regions to ensure that food safety is guaranteed. At times, it implies that some distributors of a certain food product are shut down, vending shops are closed down, a way of food and beverage preparation is halted, and or actions are taken on an individual caught eating a certain kind of food. These actions operate on the saying that, prevention is better than cure. Even though individuals are annoyed and infuriated by the actions, policies and measures that these agencies put across, the end justify the means.
Why shouldn’t the government have a say on our diet?
It is evident that the government operates on the belief, one size fits all. The argument is that, when they state that everyone should consume proper portion of calories, there is no ultimate definition for proper. A guy with an athletic body who spends half of his day playing basketball and dancing in the streets, has a higher demand for calories in his body as compared to his brother who spends most of his time seating in a class receiving lecturers. With this then when the government gets to a point of stating that no family should consumer fatty foods, it will be an action that is not considerate to the entire population. As a matter of fact, it is biased in nature.
The United States is one of the developed countries in the world. Being among the most developed, it follows then that the citizens have acquired education that is good enough for them to make decisions pertaining their tastes and preferences. It means then that, they have the ability to enter into a market and read the content in a given food product and decide whether he/she will eat or abandon it. It is a matter of choice. Being a democratic country, this is one of the things that an individual should decide from his or her own critical analysis. If eating a meat pie daily gives one personal fulfillment, why should it be prevented then? With democracy and education, the world has witnessed gay marriages have the constitutional right to be viable. Now, when the government puts up a diet that should be followed by each person, it will probably force each one to consume a lot of starch and water consumption which will seem to diminish human rights and democracy.
Some fear that, when the federal government has the right to control what we eat, what they will want to control tomorrow. May be tomorrow will come and they will force the citizens to wear a uniform that resembles the flag. This will be like taking the country back to the 1700s when the government would impose tax on any stuff without consulting the views of the public. The government may then be in a position to manipulate every single personal life. The beginning to such an era is a day when the government receives the power and capability to force the citizens to eat and drink what they (government) deem right. Will this not be dictatorship? The right to choose started from the time of creation. It should not be stopped now.
Projects and undertakings by Michelle Obama and Michael Bloomberg which have witnessed children consuming little, balanced and healthy food has witnessed negative critics from the children and the youth. It is a view that the food is not sweet and neither is it enjoyable to consume. Far still, there are those who skip the meals for they abhor it. With freedom of choice, this is not right. This bridges to the next point. It is not everyone in this country who is obese or overweight. Therefore, for the skinny individuals it will be unfair to prevent them from consuming a snack from time to time. They have put a lot of work on their weight and health, so when they want to consume one sweet thing, they should not be stopped from doing so.
Guidelines, advice to consumers while controlling and regulating food production without deciding what the citizens should and should not eat
The government’s reasons for diet control are realistic enough. However, this does not mean that they have the responsibility to dictate on what shape our diets should have. There are other measures that they should adopt.
For instance, to control the consumption of fries, the government should increase taxation on the vendors that prepare, distribute and sell the products. This will lower the consumption of such products by a great margin. A collaboration of this and other factors discussed below will enable improve and maintenance of healthy beings.
With the above measures, the quality issue will be attended to. There is need to observe quantity as well. In this, public health education should be employed. The nutritionists should be increased in every state to educate people on a personal level on the kinds of food that they should avoid and which they should increase amount. Let the public health professionals teach and train individuals on a positive lifestyle starting with time management which will allow individuals to spare time for exercise. They will learn to spare time from their busy schedules and observe healthy lifestyle. The human nature is known to resisting change that is forced upon them. However, when they are engaged in discussions, they tend to adopt the ideas on the table end up practicing them in day to day life. Awareness will be beneficial.
The government should encourage but not force (Hopkinsville 2012). The prices of certain commodities such as fresh vegetables and fruits should be subsidized. Let their importation into the country be supported through revision of tariffs. The end result is that individuals will be encouraged to consume them without the feeling of being forced. The farmers who deal with such should be given financial and other support that they may require to maximize the production.
Lastly but not least, when one buys cigarette especially in developing countries, there is a warning on the cover indicating that its smoking is harmful to one’s health. When each vendor indicates the amount of cholesterol and other fats that are contained in the food or drink that he/she deals regardless of its tastiness, the citizens will be on a the benefiting end. They will be in a position to make informed choices. They will be forewarned on the implications that would occur if they consumed a given product.
When government officials step up to propose and implement policies on the citizen’s diet, they have a positive motive; the motive might be to ensure safety of the food or prevention of various conditions such as obesity. However, the people’s freedom of choice is overlooked at times. The government should not have an entire say on what we eat and drink. It should however engage in other endeavors such as increasing tax on unhealthy products while reducing it for healthy products such as vegetables and fruits. The government should offer guidelines, advice to consumers while they control and regulate food production but avoid attempts to have a final say on our diets.
Ananda, R. (2011, July 1). Food and The American Diet | Global Research. Global Research. Retrieved July 1, 2013, from http://www.globalresearch.ca/food-and-the-american-diet/25456
Barbour, T. (2007, October 1). Preventive health care: good for employees and employers: diet, exercise, weight control helps prevent top five causes of death in state.. Alaska Business Monthly, 14, 23-24.
Dawd, M. (2002, January 12). Overweight And Obesity Threaten U.S. Health Gains.. Obesity, Fitness & Wellness Week, p. 16.
Hopkinsville, J. (2012, August 4). America Get's Bigger While the Government Stands By | Teen Essay About eating healthy, obesity, environment, school/college and undefined. Teen Ink | A teen literary magazine and website. Retrieved July 1, 2013, from http://teenink.com/hot_topics/health/article/458064/America-Gets-Bigger-While-the-Government-Stands-By/
Poole, R. W. (2009). Instead of regulation: alternatives to federal regulatory agencies. Lexington: Lexington Books.
Wang, Y. C., Colditz, G. A., & Kuntz, K. M. (2007). Forecasting The Obesity Epidemic In The Aging U.S. Population**. Obesity, 15(11), 2855-2865.
Wieder, R. S. (2011, December 11). Should the Government Actively Work to Control Obesity? The Public Speaks. Calorie Counter (Calorie Lab). Retrieved July 1, 2013, from http://calorielab.com/news/2011/03/17/control-obesity/