Should We Prevent Obesity or Treat it?

No matter where you go in America, you will find health officials wondering what they can possibly do about obesity. In fact, this is seen all over the world, even in places like Indian. It seems that the price to pay for adopting a ‘westernized’ lifestyle, is that people become obese.

Just 25 years, ago, ‘only’ 20% of Americans were overweight. Now, however, this figure stands at around 65%! Of course, we live our lives facing various challenges and stresses. This one, however, truly has the potential to kill us, and it is bankrupting the country.

Why Obesity Is Rising

People are no longer wondering why obesity is on the rise. The causes are clear:

  • Junk food is all around us.
  • People eat boxed meals, which often claim they are healthy as well.
  • Food is full of additives.
  • Bad food is cheaper than health food.
  • People have to work longer hours.
  • People move less.

Preventing Obesity

Almost every government has invested in obesity prevention since the 1950s, when rates first started to rise. There is the ‘Eat Well Plate’, the ‘Healthy Food Choice Program’, the ‘Food Pyramid’, and more. But these programs have all seemed ineffective. So this does mean prevention doesn’t work? Yes it does, but clearly other things must be done as well.

Treating Obesity

Treatment is done in a variety of way. Our media is covered with self-help books, diet and exercise programs, and more. The medical world is offering a range of bariatric procedures, many of which are available to people with government assistance. In an ideal world, people don’t have to access surgery for their obesity, but the reality is that once someone has a BMI of 30, it would take them a year and a half of dieting to get back to a healthy weight, with an extra month added for each BMI point. Consider this:

  • The chance of successfully dieting for 18 months is less than 1%.
  • The chance of reaching an ideal weight through dieting alone with a BMI of 30 or more is less than 1%.
  • The chance of putting weight back on is about 95%.
  • The chance of getting trapped in a yo-yo cycle is about 95%.

Does this mean treatment is ineffective? No, it doesn’t. But it does mean that weight loss surgery, which has a 70% success rate after five years, is the only viable option for people once they reach the obesity stage.

Some Ideas to Help with Both Prevention and Treatment

  1. Morbid obesity is a disease and should be classed as such.
  2. Junk food should be taxed higher, to discourage people from buying it.
  3. Corporations that create healthy foods should receive tax breaks if they lower their prices.
  4. Anyone who is classed as obese should receive free gym membership.
  5. All restaurants should offer healthy alternatives.
  6. Restaurants should list their calorie and nutritional content.
  7. Parents should be given free nutritional courses each year to prevent childhood obesity.