Obesity’s Cause: Us or Them?

The obesity epidemic is a complex problem with numerous, intertwined causes.  Two schools of thought have come to predominate the discussion over the origins of the crisis.  Disagreement rages over which factor is the primary driver of the epidemic.

Arguments from both sides are as follows:

Individual choice

Leaving aside the existential question of the nature of free will, we’re all responsible for what we put into our mouths.  Making wise food choices is solely the job of each person.

Junky processed food is only bad for you if you eat it too much.  Further, it’s not the government’s, nor any private enterprises’, job to control your choices.  In fact, it is often viewed as plain un-American.

Obesogenic Environment

There is no doubt we live in a different food environment than generations past.  We are constantly bombarded with fancy food marketing and have access to a seemingly overwhelming supply of junk food.

And this pervasive junk food is not only unhealthy, it pushes our bodies to continuously crave the very products that are making us gain weight.  The pervasiveness of this ‘obes0genic’ environment is nearly impossible for most folks to overcome.


Although I recognize the strong personal responsibility aspect, in my view the unhealthy food environment we live in is the biggest culprit in the obesity problem.

I’d love your opinion, which driver of the obesity epidemic is more to blame?


2 responses to “Obesity’s Cause: Us or Them?

  1. Why are we more obese then other nations? Why do we consume more calories than any other nation…. It has everything to do with the Obesogenic Environment that gives us constant access to food anywhere we want and anytime we want. Our habits as a culture have to change – no eating in the car, at your desk at work, while standing up… We have to value the food we put in our mouth – making sure it is nourishing us vs. killing us with chemicals. This value is what is missing. Americans (as a general population) do not place value on ingredients – they place value on brands and products that are marketed to them by giant food companies. Sigh.

    • Totally agree. The enviornment is certainly the biggest culprit in the obesity crisis. Of course, there has to be a personal responsibility component as well.

      And, much as you’ve said, lots of overlap between the two.

      Thanks for your comments!

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