Society’s Effect on Obesity

5 May 2016

What is “fat” in today’s society? Who and how can they call someone “fat”? How did we get so “fat”? On what terms can “fat” be interpreted to overweight and or obese? Is the government lying?

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According to who you can is the type of response you’ll get. Everyone has their personal opinions about being fat but who is right and who is wrong? Or even is there a right or wrong? How can someone be called fat? Can fat be a good thing rather than a bad, as the media and governments tells us. With David Zinczenko’s controversial article on suing fast foods is wrong to Paul Campos’s argumentative essay criticizing the BMI scale we’ll get professional responses on this controversial topic.

Sometimes “fat” can be blamed on fast food. According to “Don’t Blame the Eater”, by David Zinczenko, he argues that suing a fast food place is wrong and should be your responsibility on what he eats.

He gave the perfect example to show us how wrong it is with “isn’t that like middle-aged men suing Porsche for making them get a speeding ticket?” With this example he gives an alternative view of looking at lawsuit towards fast food restaurants that are just doing their jobs and making us food. This is not to say that the fast food restaurants don’t have a part in people being fat.

With fast food places spending millions of dollars in advertising, who is not to say that some can be misleading? With so many ads and billboards persuading us to eat even though we’re not hungry. Even if it’s not the misleading ads, the misleading nutrition facts on food labels play a big part.

They offer an item that says an X number of calories but in small fine print or on a separate item states dressing or cheese or etc. adds an additional X number of calories that many people are not aware of. So at the end your X number has been doubled without you even noticing. So when we intake those calories into our body, we are actually creating a serious problem, a problem that hurts the nation, as a whole and us.

If there is a paid celebrity promoting something people are ten times likely to try that promotion out. Arecent trend came out that was created by Carl’s Jr. where Paris Hilton was casting an a advertisement on television looking seductive and inducing a viewer while indulging her big juicy burger that is assembled with calories anywhere from 400-600.

With that one advertisement being televised there are so many wrong signals that are being sent out to the viewers. For one, Paris Hilton is half naked on a car enjoying a cheeseburger which automatically grabs everyone’s attention, mainly men. Second, anyone who thinks of Paris Hilton as a role model will do anything she does or enjoys.

This means that people are more likely to remember that type of burger and order it. Also, in the advertisement Paris Hilton has a slim body figure, so most girls will assume that burger will not show up in their love handles when, in reality, it does and will. The government should really take action on this advertisement and any other advertisements that are in the same category.

When we get fat we make our self more available to diseases and this affects everyone in one way or another. Zinczenko stated an interesting yet frightening fact about the data of young kids and diabetes. In 1994 only 2% of all the children had diabetes but now it’s almost as 30%. This also means that healthcare cost went from $2.6 billion to over $100 billion.

With this kind of change it affects every tax payer because it is their tax money that pays for their health care. When the government pays for their healthcare, is there any incentive to stop eating unhealthy meals and to change life styles?

“When the government steps in and pays for your bills and pills, then what would want you to make you better, stop eating when full, or not eat that extra cheese burger” stated by Radley Balko in “What You Eat Is Your business”.

When the government steps in and has a central healthcare then our weight isn’t our problems it’s the governments. When it is the government’s problem, it is everyone’s problem because when they eat that extra cheeseburger then that’s more money the tax payers would have to pay. To change this, according to Balko, we need to free insurance companies to reward healthy lifestyles then penalize the poor ones and also make the weight and health problems one the people and not the government.

Radley also wrote another idea; if the government has the responsibility and not the people then why should the people change from the unhealthy yet comfortable choices of diets to the healthy but uncomfortable choices of diets? The people have nothing to lose but government does that’s why we need to turn the tables so people care and they do have to lose then they will learn to change. But with change where do we start?

The change has started in many of our school and also the government has stepped in according to Balko. “The government is trying to help with anti-obesity initiatives, including prohibiting junk food in school vending machines, federal funding for new bike trails and sidewalks and demanding labels on foodstuff, restrictive food marketing to children and prodding the food industry into more “responsible” behavior.”

When the government steps in, it costs us, as tax payers, money. Just because the government steps in doesn’t mean they are always right.

With that being said, a perfect example would be our college campus. Our campus has a variety of fast food places. With students being on the go, and trying to get to their next class on time, they need something to go, fast and quick. Students right away rush to the closest place that sells food. Students do not really have much healthy choices on campus and cannot do much to eat healthy.

Some people might argue, and say shut down these unhealthy fast-food places. If that were possible, then where would the students who live in a dorm eat or work? How will they make their living cost? So this would affect their income. In my opinion, building a healthier cafeteria that serves fruits, salads, brown rice, etc. at a reasonable price would be the best interest for people.

With prices being an issue, this leads me to my next hypocritical issue. Lets face the reality; a regular cheeseburger cost no more than two dollars. A salad would cost four to five dollars.

A banana would cost us a dollar. Out of the three food choices I listed, which item will most likely fill up a person’s appetite? Of course, a cheeseburger would and it is affordable, a dollar cannot go wrong. It is no wonder why many people go for the cheeseburger. All the healthy items are pricy and would not fill up one’s

So why have it cost more? Why can’t the society do everyone a favor and make the salad a dollar, and a cheeseburger three dollars. If anything the meat would cost more than the lettuce! Then the government is wondering why our society is becoming obese. Money plays a huge role in people becoming obese.

With the governments BMI (body mass index) scale it labels you as normal, overweight, or obese as stated in “Being Fat Is Ok” by Paul Campos.

He argues that the BMI scale is greatly unfair and need to take in more factors to classify people in weight ground other than just weight. He, himself, is labeled as overweight even though he works out every day and maintains a healthy lifestyle. He states that the government has 3 lies that they scam us with. The first lie states, “We know that fat people are less healthy than thin people because they are fat.”

But there is no basis for this claim also stated by Campos. Lie number two says, “We know that fat people would be as healthy as thin people if they lost weight.” But the reality is that they don’t know that 20 pound less will affect them or if it will acquire the same health risks as a person that start 20 pounds lighter. Lie number three arguable, “Fat people can choose to be thinner.”

With the diet frailer rates at 90% to 98%, how can we lose the weight? There are many lies and misleading facts about being “fat”. When being a woman in today’s society, “fat” can be even worse. Feminist Susie Orbach, states, in “Fat is a Feminist Issue”, that 50% of all the girls in the US are fat or overweight. Her tone of voice changes and she says that a woman will look to how her role is played in society.

With our role models and superstars being at a size 0 or 2 or even a 4, a girl that looks up to them also tries being like them even if there a size 22 they think they are “fat” because of the stereotype of being slim and having a perfect body. Susie also describes that, “Women are candidates for men, they become pray to the huge fashion and diet industries that first set up the ideal images and then exhort women to meet them.”

By this, Susie is trying to say that in today’s society, women look how others want them to look. It does not matter if it’s the fashion world, beauty industry, or even just men. Women are shaped to look a certain way. As the fashion, or men’s taste in women, changes, so do women’s bodies.

What Susie Orbach stated in the last sentence of her book, “In this way, fat expresses a rebellion against the powerlessness of the woman, against the pressure to look and act in a certain way and against being evaluated on her ability to create an image of her own” has us wondering if this is actually true?

With so many views on “fat” who do we believe? Is it possible to even pick a side? Can it be one company’s or person’s fault? Or does it have a mixture? According to most people, being “fat” appears to be one of the biggest issues in health.

Overall this is a very controversial topic because society does play a huge role in this, but at the end of the day who is responsible for their weight, the consumer. Not everyone is obese and not everyone should have to eat what obese people should be eating.

The society does play a role by not taking action for their lies, false advertisements, and promoters. The government cannot do anything about this; they cannot take a burger out of someone’s hand.

Though, they are letting FDA sell diet pills, they are advertising and having TV shows on obese people and their devastated lifestyles. But is this even helping the obese people? If it were helping, the number of obese people would have decreased.

The consumers need to take advantage of the gym, diet pills, and just being active. If the consumer cannot do these simple tasks then they have no self-control and do not care about their lives. Also society is playing a role to help obesity out.

Society and media only want and show slim body types and have better clothes for them. Even in media they have a word called “grenade” which means an ugly fat girl. This is not only rude, but also very degrading to women.

Even though our society has a big impact on obesity, there is nothing they can do to stop it because restaurants and food product owners have to make their money. Obesity is one of the things that looks like is never going to come to an end due to all of our media and lack of motivation to work out.


Balko, Radley. “Cato Institute .” Cato Institute . (2004): n. page. Web. 5 Nov. 2012. .

Campos, Paul. “Slate.” Slate. (2012): n. page. Web. 5 Nov. 2012. .

Orbach, Susie. Fat Is a Feminist Issue. Random House, 2010. Print.

Zinczenko’s, David. “The New York Times.” New York Times. (2002): n. page. Web. .

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