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Obesity is personal choice. To what extent do you agree with this statement? Essay Example

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The world today is characterised by increasing number of health issues. Some of the health issues are common across the global population while others are selective and affect some segments of the global population. According to Bhargava (2002) obesity can be defined as a medical condition where by the body has excess fat which accumulates in different parts of the body resulting into adverse health effects as well as increased problems in health (Bhargava, 2002). Some of these health issues are critical and thus require medical attention urgently while other health issues can be easily managed through the life style of the people. It is imperative to note that whether small or big every health issue become a major health problem if not attended to or if proper care is not taken into consideration to prevent the advancement of the problem. One of the common and the most popular health issues that has hit the headlines of the digital, electronic and the print media today is the issue of obesity (Bhargava, 2002). Although, the food industry has been blamed for the increasing number of obese cases in the world today, this essay will argue that individual persons have the responsibility for preventing and managing obesity which means that obesity is a choice of an individual and not a problem brought by the food industry.

The first argument that supports the view that obesity is an individual choice and that the responsibility for preventing obesity lies in the hands of an individual person is the fact that obesity has been contributed largely by poor eating habits. Obesity is widely spoken about in different conferences around the world because it is taken as a causative factor to many other diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure and many other illnesses. One of the common poor eating habits identified as contributing towards obese cases in the developed nations is consumption of “junk foods” (O’Neill, 2006). O’Neill defined junk foods as the type of foods that contain high levels of sugar, fat and salt yet they contain low levels of vegetables, fruits and fibre. Such types of foods are less nutritional and do not provide the body with any form of immunity against illnesses. Both the young and the old people have been educated about the repercussions of consuming excessive amounts of junks foods such as saturation of fats in the body resulting into obesity. It is imperative to note that little amounts of junk foods consumed at controlled time intervals or once in a while do not have any adverse consequences on the health of the consumer such as obesity. Although, the food industry is responsible for the production of the junk foods it does not have any control over the amounts of junk foods individuals consume per day, per hour or per minute. Some people have argued that the food industry should put labels indicating that consuming excess junk foods may lead to obesity. However, even if such labels are attached to every junk food sold in the market the food industry does not have control over the appetite of the consumers and thus individual persons have the responsibility of consuming junk foods in controlled amounts. Hence, it is the choice of the consumer to consume more and become obese or consume less and live a life free of obesity condition (Pool, 2001).

The second argument is that even when junk foods are consumed in excess amounts they may not bring such adverse effects resulting into obesity when the consumers engage in intensive physical exercises such as jogging, walking several kilometres per day, engaging in different physical exercises in school as well as running. Research studies indicate that physical exercises help to burn the excess fat in the body thus giving the body the required energy to carry on with the desired activities. However, people have shifted into sedentary lifestyles where people do their jobs at the most comfort zones (Kolata, 2007). For example, instead of walking to work even when the distance from home to the workplace is short people opt to use vehicles. Instead of hand washing clothes at home which is a good physical exercise that can help mothers and young people to overcome the obesity problem dry cleaners and washing machines are used instead. In school, teachers spend most of their time teaching children and spend little time with the children in the field doing physical exercises. People have argued that mechanized transportation and technological methods of carrying out different activities makes the work simpler and faster (Kolata, 2007). While this is true it is important to note that mechanized transportation and technological methods of performing different activities have made people lazy and the only task people are left with to perform is to eat. It is the choice of an individual to walk to school or to the workplace. It is also the choice of an individual to use a vehicle to go to work. Either way the responsibility of doing physical exercise in order to reduce excess body fats lies in the hands of an individual which means that obesity is a choice and cannot be blamed on the food industry.

The third argument that reveals that obesity is an individual’s choice is the fact that the government has enhanced the awareness of the causes of obesity and the repercussions of being obese in almost all quotas (Seidell, 2005). Materials have also been published by the government printer and posted in different media channels such as the internet, government websites and digital channels such as radio and television. The health repercussions of being obese have been clearly explained and shown in publications in public hospitals and other health care facilities in order to provide the public with enough materials and sources of information about the causes of obesity and its repercussions. Additionally, in order to show the seriousness of obesity in the health of an individual and the public at large, the government has also increased awareness by releasing statistics that indicate the number of deaths that occur every year as a result of obesity related illnesses. Such diseases include diabetes, high blood pressure, different types of cancers and heart diseases (to mention a few) (Seidell, 2005). It means that there is sufficient information released in the public domain concerning causes and the negative effects of obesity as the government strives to be responsible for the health of its citizens. More information has also been released concerning the types of foods and diets that people should consume to avoid obesity. As a matter of fact the government has also employed nutritionist to advise the public on the type of diets they should consume to prevent obesity. However, even with all these efforts the cases of obesity have continued to increase because individuals have chosen to ignore the information provided to them by the government. It is the choice of an individual to read the information provided to him/her by the government and implement the measures stipulated or outlined in order to prevent obesity. It is also the choice of an individual to ignore the information and live a sedentary life and become obese. It therefore means that obesity is the choice of an individual and cannot be blamed on the government on the food industry.

In conclusion, this essay has shown that obesity results from different factors that lie entirely in the hands of individual persons which means that it is the responsibility of an individual to manage his/her lifestyle such as controlling the amounts of junk foods consumed at different time intervals, engaging in physical exercises as well as giving the body enough room to rest through sufficient sleep. It is therefore imperative to reiterate that obesity is a personal choice. Obesity is considered a risky medical condition because its presence may also lead to many other diseases such as different types of cancer, heart diseases, osteoarthritis and diabetes type 2. It is thus the choice of a person top prevent obesity from croaching on him.


Bhargava, A. (2002). «Unhealthy eating habits, physical exercise and macronutrient intakes are predictors of anthropometric indicators in the Women’s Health Trial: Feasibility Study in Minority Populations». British Journal of Nutrition 88 (6): 719–728.

Kolata, G. (2007). Rethinking Thin: The new science of weight loss – and the myths and realities of dieting. Picador.

O’Neill, B. (2006). “Is this what you call junk food?” BBC News.

Pool, R. (2001). Fat: Fighting the Obesity Epidemic. (Oxford, UK, Oxford University Press).

Seidell, J. (2005). Epidemiology — definition and classification of obesity. Clinical obesity in adults and children: in Adults and Children. Blackwell Publishing. pp. 3–11