The World Health Organization (2003) estimated that obesity and the national diet have become an epidemic around the world, which could be caused by limited attention in health and lack of consciousness of daily diet. In accordance with current trends, there will be 2.3 billion adults overweight [body mass index [BMI] ≥25] in 2015, and 700 million people will be clinically obese [BMI≥30] (Campbell, 2005). In light of these statistics, the government should establish relevant policies to address the diet and levels of obesity in order to enhance the individual’s awareness and transform the national unreasonable eating habits. It might be said that it is the choice of the citizens to choose diverse diets. Besides, the government should not pay close attention to these field which is waste the energy and financial resources. However, it could also be argued that the government’s policy is one of the effective methods to reduce the number of obese population and encourage individual to live in a healthy life style. This essay will discuss three main reasons for government to establish the policy.
The first argument why governments need to target policies is that citizen’s physical and psychological condition is worrying including three aspects. Firstly, the whole world is experiencing an obesity epidemic, which has been related to other health problems. According to the survey from World Health Organization (Campbell, 2005), since 1980 the amount of obesity has nearly doubled. In 2008, 1.4 billion adults aged 20 were overweight which is taking up 35 percent in total population around the world. Besides, the International Obesity Task Force estimates that there will be 155 million children overweight or obese (ibid). The inevitable consequence of this is that chronic disease including: cardiovascular disease, diabetes and hypertension. In fact, a report by the International Diabetes Federation (cited in International Diabetes Federation Atlas, 2012) stated that more than 18 million people die due to these kinds of disease every year and nearly 80 percent 246 million people with diabetes live in the developing country.
In addition to this, obesity is linked with psychological problems; there appear to be two distinct issues: anxiety and depression. According to the survey from National Comorbidity Survey Replication (cited in Archives of General Psychiatry )showed that nearly a quarter of the cases of obesity is related to emotions or anxiety disorder. Furthermore, it is possible to claim that obesity may be associated with heredity. For example, the probability of obesity is 70 percent to 80 percent, if the parents are both obese; one of them is obese, the probability of infant obesity is 40 percent. On the other hand, the genetic factors is considered in the “etiology of type 1 diabetes” (Littorin B, 2001) In fact, the risk for diabetes has a dramatic rise (p＜0.001) with the amount of relatives with diabetes in the family. (ibid) In light of the evidence discussed, due to the current situation, it is necessary that governments should establish policies to enhance citizen’s awareness, help them to avoid obesity, meanwhile, reduce the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
The second reason for considering the policies to control obesity and healthy diet is beneficial aspect for country’s economic development. It is concerning to consider that spending on health means of promoting growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP), healthy environment plays a potential role in economic growth for both developed and developing countries. In the past, it has commonly been accepted that the resident would have better health and longer life expectancy in the country with higher levels of GDP, as higher living standards lead to enhanced prevention and treatments of disease. But the opposite effects, through the preferable health consequence in raising the level of GDP, may potentially be of equal or even greater significance (Swift, 2011). An analysis of the relationship between health and GDP growth form (David, 2001) stated that in Mexico, from 1970-1995, illustrated that” health is a causal factor responsible for approximately one third of the long-term economic growth in Mexico”. For example, it reduces production losses due to worker illness and increases the productivity (ibid). In addition, with the improving of individual’s health, in a certain sense can reduce the expenses in medical treatment.
Babazono (2011) pointed out that the increase in health care expenditures is a serious issue in most of developed countries. In 2007, “Life style—related disease” taking up 60 percent of deaths in Japan, and the health care expenditures occupying a high percentage of the country’s total expenditures. According to survey from Agency for Healthcare and Quality (Babazono, 2011), the United States spends a significant amount of funds on health care than any other major industrialized .For example, in 1960, the expenditures in health care accounted for 5 percent of the GDP, by 2000, that figure had grown to more than 13 percent, but the result is not obvious. Babazono claimed that it should be improve the awareness of health, reducing the national health care expenditures and maintaining financial balance. (ibid) For both two reasons, it is possible that government’s policies have substantial assistance in economic development.
The final important argument supporting is that the government policy is one of the effective methods to supervising. Firstly, a significant number of people lack of awareness in health problem. Nearly 25 percent of the population was unaware of a condition about their health especially in some chronic disease such as diabetes. (Joshi, 2008) Though the awareness levels increased with education, only few people pay attention to their diet, it is possible that the government’s policy is a suitable way to help people raise awareness of health. Secondly, the government policy with coercive measure, some policies has been promulgated in different countries.
For example, increase 20 percent tax on sugary drinks may be cut the number of obese people in Wales by 8,300 and those overweight by 13,300, Plaid health spokeswoman Elin Jones suggested a 20 percent tax could lead to a 15% reduction in consumption of sugary drinks. (BBC,2014).In the United State, it also has “outlawed sugary sodas and banished junk food vending machines on campus”(PEUTERS,2009) on the other hand, nearly $11.7 billion spend by the U.S. government on school programs which provide lunch for over 30 million children and breakfast for more than 10 million (ibid). These compulsory measures have obtained the effect in some aspect，help people to decrease sugar intake and reduce the risk of obesity. Both of these reasons illustrated how significance the government should establish the policies on diet and obesity levels.
In conclusion, it is clear from the weight of evidence provided that several reasons for government should establish relevant policies to address the national diet and levels of obesity, not only for individual themselves but also for country’s development. Although it is citizens own choice to keep healthy diet and expected results would not desired, introducing policies seems to be the one of the most efficient and coerciveness method to control obesity and encourage citizens to choose a healthy life style. There is a clear case for further research on the policies of addressing the national diet and levels of obesity, which would possibly to alleviate the obesity crisis at the same time, improve national health quality. Due to this, the relevant knowledge should impart in school which could enhance individual’s conscious to choose a beneficial diet. In addition, the government should provide free gym to citizens to motivate and inspire them to join physical exercise. In this way, the situation of obesity would have a slightly decrease.
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