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Opinion Letters Tired of hearing the term ‘Obesity Epidemic’

Tired of hearing the term ‘Obesity Epidemic’

An epidemic is defined as "a widespread occurrence of an infectious disease in a community at a particular time." Obesity is not contagious. These is no such thing as an "Obesity Epidemic." Obesity, in the majority of cases, is caused by two things. One is simply a lack of self control, the other lowered self esteem. Often involved is a self-fulfilling prophesy; "I am fat and ugly, so why not eat?" It is true that there are various medical causes of obesity, but they account for a small minority of obese people. For most people, obesity is a choice.

The notion that large soft drink sizes (as in New York) or large sizes of french fries or other fast foods cause us to be overweight is ridiculous. We each control what and when we eat. While those who smoke or are alcoholics may have the excuse of chemical dependence, those who consume excessive calories can make no such claim. Most of us enjoy eating. Some of us know when to stop. Oh yes, exercise helps, but that's another story. Obesity is a choice.

For adults who allow themselves to become obese, it’s a shame. Parents who allow their children to become obese should not be excused. The eating habits learned in childhood stay with most of us for life. Allowing a child to become obese assures that child of a shorter, less healthy, less enjoyable life. Parents must be responsible for and control what their children eat. Our educational system must spread the word that fighting obesity must be a life-long commitment for most of us, in the interest of good health and a long life.

Perhaps now that we all seem destined to share medical costs thru Obamacare, we will take strong steps to deal with obesity (as well as alcohol and tobacco use) as these chosen behaviors dramatically raise health care costs. Certainly those with poor habits should pay a higher share of those costs. Self abusers should pay more? What a novel idea!

Tom Hill — Franklin, N.C.

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