Following my research about the obesity epidemic, its causes, and the research surrounding the issue, I chose to look at the other side of obesity. In my opinion, this side represents the industries that encourage obesity and are not proactive in preventing the spread of the disease, especially when their industry is a major contributor to this problem. I find this interesting because I believe that policy should shape this part of the industry, as that is where regulation is required. In order to curb obesity, government regulators need to start from the root at the problem.
I found an article on buisnessinsider.com that highlights the industries in this country that contribute to and benefit the most from the obesity epidemic. Some of these industries are obvious, but there were some that I was surprised about. The list is:
1) Fast food restaurants
2) Fast food suppliers
3) Snack foods
4) Health care
5) Diabetes drug makers
6) Cholesterol drug makers
7) Weight loss pills
8) Fad diets and exercises
While the first six parts of the list didn’t surprise me, I hadn’t even thought about the profits the diet/exercise and television industries have gained from the obesity epidemic. Interestingly enough, these highlight the issues that have arisen in our country because of obesity. People are afraid of becoming obese, so they take severe preventative measures to ensure their health and weight. The article highlights a fad diet called P90X, where you pay upwards of $40 for a serious workout and meal regimen to maintain your physical physique and lose weight. Workouts like these, that overwork and starve your body, earn over $200 million annually and continue to be successful.
However, despite my shock about the effect of obesity on other industries, it is the fast food and snack food industries that require the reform. There is an opportunity here, like referenced in other proposals, to minimize portions and require better products. Fast foods restaurants like McDonalds and Burger King are never going to disappear because of their price point. However, if there are regulations that require their increased quality, I believe that will help the obesity epidemic. Simultaneously, higher quality and health value is necessary in snack foods. If the industry is more regulated, then it will help curb obesity. Industries supporting unhealthy food should not be able to benefit from encouraging purchase of controversial items. If an item caused cancer, it would be removed from the market or changed. Why doesn’t that happen with unhealthy foods?