“Beating Obesity” by Marc Ambinder

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2010/05/beating-obesity/308017/

This reading was kind of a rollercoaster for me. The author, Marc Ambinder, talks about the first hand struggles of being obese, as he had lived them. He talks about effective ways of dealing with obesity, about how people can prevent or work towards not being obese, and about several political things that have helped or made obesity rates worst. One thing that he said that I found to be true is that being obese comes at a high price. Unfortunately, obese people are more prone to be depressed, to attend less school or work, and over all spend 42% more on health care than healthy individuals. Often, when people think of solutions to obesity, they think of the “big two’s:” reduced food, and increased exercise. However, this fails to take into account physiological as well as societal forces that may influence an individuals weight.

Sedentary lifestyles, as well as an increase in fast food and portion sizes all have an increase in obesity. So does neurochemical addiction to certain foods, and a rise in stigma. Somethings that are often overlooked is that obesity tends to affect those of lower socioeconomic status. Not because they don’t exercise, or eat healthy. Often, it is because they lack supermarkets, or places where healthy food is sold. This, as we have mentioned in class, is referred to as a food dessert. They also have less access to healthcare such as preventative care that could stop a person from reaching obesity.

Marc Ambnider was a big proponent of bariatric surgery. He had it done, and successfully lost weight, and is until today at a healthy weight. As seen in his article, he is under the impression that this is a good solution. This is probably the only thing I disagree, from the viewpoint of someone that has had several health complications, I don’t believe it is necessary to reach these lengths. Of course, there are special cases, and I respect any one who chooses to take these measures, but I don’t necessarily believe it should be promoted as an easy solution. Another thing I agree is when he says that watching obese people has become a spectacle. This increases stigma, and is counterproductive to helping.

Finally, Marc addressed federal policies and regulatory approaches that could help regulate the food industry. So who do you think is more responsible for obesity? Individuals, or is it a combination of structural initiatives (access to gyms, parks, walking places), or lack there of, food giants, and political strategies?

 

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