I quite simply love fast food. It may be an unhealthy choice for a daily meal, but it is a choice. If I want to eat fast food for a meal, I should be able to make that decision on my own, without anyone forcing, or even persuading me to do differently. Why should the government decide what we should eat and what we should not eat? Truth is, it’s our right as a U.S. citizen to choose what we want to eat, because it is part of our lifestyles.
A tax on fast food would quite simply be an infringement on American citizen’s rights. In the journal of the International Association for the Study of Obesity “the complexity of responsibilities regarding overweight is disregarded; and interventions infringe upon personal freedom regarding lifestyle choices and raising children,” (Have, Beaufort, Teixeira, Mackenbach, and Heide 669). We all have one life to live and we all want to live it our way. If someone loves fast food, why should it be it excluded from their diet (which is a huge part of someone’s life) without their say? The freedom of choice is one of the great benefits that this nation provides. By taxing fast food, it becomes eventually unaffordable and forces the people that choose to enjoy it to choose another alternative or heavily overpay– that is not the American way of life.
The truth about the obesity epidemic is that many Americans hold an obscured belief that obesity is a chosen lifestyle. I have heard endless illogical comments from friends or others my age who are in at least considerable shape and hold little experience or understanding of the true causes of obesity. I have heard comments like “just get the fat sucked out”, “they could eat a salad and hit a gym once in a while”, or “Why do they get overweight in the first place? It’s not that hard”. Not only are comments such as these illogical and misinformed, they also take a harsh stance against those who are obese and view them as an outcast group of society. In the online Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, political author W.A. Bogart states “To Provide good solutions, those charged with responding must first, more or less, agree about the nature of the problem” (Bogart 28). The American public has been heavily misinformed on obesity and jumps to many conclusions on how to fix the problem seeing it as a problem with a simple and swift solution. The reality is that obesity is a complicated problem that comes from serious health issues such as eating disorders or the lack dietary knowledge and exercise.
I am 19, almost 20 years old, and I am five foot eight, one hundred and sixty pounds, with six percent body fat. I’m not trying to be arrogant or smug about my body, but I would consider myself to be in extremely good shape and to be very physically fit. I usually workout five days a week to improve my fitness and maintain my health. On average I eat fast food two to four times a week. On top of eating fast food, I also drink soda or sugary drinks on almost a daily basis, as well eating other unhealthy foods throughout my day, I still do not struggle to maintain my health and fitness. I know reading this, you may say “you’re only 19, and your metabolism is still great” or “you have the time to work out, I don’t”. Both may be true, but I am one example of countless that prove people can stay healthy even while consuming unhealthy things. I’m saying being in good physical shape and being physically fit is just a simple task, but it most cases be obtained.
The true dilemma lies within the individual, not within the government’s power. We all have the right to make our own choices and are well aware of the consequences. There are other solutions to the obesity epidemic instead of taxing fast food and forcing it out of people diets. In this article for the Herald Sun [Australia], Rita Panahi states, “Fast food is not nicotine; in moderation it is not detrimental to one’s health and those who choose to indulge should be able to do so without the fat police working themselves up into a rich, righteous lather.” (Panahi par. 24) If people are well aware and educated about dietary health and obesity, people have a great starting point and platform to avoid and eliminate obesity. If people choose to eat fast food, they also have to choose how to deal with that calorie intake. They can burn the calories through or just eat it in moderation and eat healthier foods for other meals. But these are choices that lie within the individual and their way of lifestyle, and no one has the right to tell them differently.
Don’t get me wrong, the obesity epidemic is a serious and growing problem that needs to be fixed for public safety. But we can find other solutions that do not infringe upon people’s rights or force people away from the fast food that they enjoy. This is the United States of America and every citizen has the right to make their own decisions. Period.
Bogart, W.A.. “Law as a Tool in “The War on Obesity”: Useful Interventions, maybe, But, First, What’s the Problem?” Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics. (2013): 28-41. Print. September 25, 2013. Academic Search Complete.
Have, M. ten, I. D. de Beaufort, P. J. Teixeira, J. P. Mackenbach and A. van der Heide. “Ethics and prevention of overweight and obesity: an inventory.” International Association for the Study of Obesity. 12. (2011): 669-679. Print. September 29, 2013. Academic Search Complete.
Panahi, Rita. “FAST FOOD TAX? That’d do a fat lot of good.” Herald Sun [Australia] August 12, 2013, FIRST Edition Pg. 26. Web. September 29, 2013. LexisNexis.