Take a look at how the economic policies of a country can increase or decrease the epidemic of obesity!
Obesity is the number two cause of death in the United States. With the ease of availability of fast food and drifting from healthier food options, obesity has become a national concern for not only US but for developing countries like India as well.
When countries have cheaper and quicker options like burgers, fries etc. for people and the prices of healthy, organic food touching the ceiling, people opt for the unhealthier option because it is affordable and kills their hunger.
But some countries have decided to act against the epidemic of obesity and have strengthened their economic policies to make healthier food available to their population and slowly removing fast food from their diet.
Here is how those countries are giving a tough fight to obesity with better designed economic policies.
Obesity is a condition in which an individual acquires so much body fat that it begins to have a negative impact on their health.
The prime reason for becoming obese is consuming food with high amount of calories in them. In 1980, 14% of adult population of the United States was obese, but by 2000, this figure reached 31%. People are not only overeating, but they are overeating harmful things like carbohydrates, sugar, fat, etc, which is making them obese.
Another reason is sedentary life style. With technology taking over the manual work done by us, it has made us lazy. In earlier times we used to get up to change channels on the TV and used to manually wash our clothes. Now with remote controls and voice activated TVs and similar washing machines that physical labor has disappeared.
2 Obesity and economy
Obesity is hurting the economy of many countries. In the United States alone, the medical expenses for obesity related illnesses have skyrocketed. When compared with the 13.3% obese adults in US in 1962, the number has risen to 35.7% in 2012.
Medical care cost was raised to $315 billion in 2010, amounting to $3,508 per obese person per year. Obesity limits the person’s work life and efficiency, impacting their ability to earn in a big way. Morbidly obese women with a body mass index greater than 40 earned 5% less in jobs that had interactions with people, when compared to their normal weight counter parts. This prodded the recommendations to tax eatables with sugar like soft drinks and food in order to reduce their consumption.
Obesity is also impacting various forms of life such as low earning potential for obese people, use of additional 1 billion gallons of gasoline in transporting overweight and obese Americans.
3 Country’s economics and health of population
The economics of a country is dependent of the health of its citizens. The more productive the citizens, the better the economy of the country! But in today’s world, governments of states and countries are getting huge money from food producers like fast food companies, soft drink companies and processed food companies in order to make their products cheaper than healthier organic products.
Now a simple middle class American family whose earning potential is limited will be attracted to buy the processed food, or the fast food, since it fits in their budgets and also feeds their family. The healthier options of organic foods, fresh fruits and vegetables have been made so expensive that people cannot afford to have healthy food every day in their homes.
As countries have undergone globalization and market deregulation, it has affected the health of its citizens with the availability of unhealthy food options at cheaper prices and sale of fruits, vegetables and organic eatables at high prices.
4 Steps to ensure healthy population
In face of the impending problem of obesity hurting their economies, many countries have started banning or regulating the sale of soft drinks and fast food. They have also started regulating the advertisements of these unhealthy products and removed or lowered the subsidy given to such companies.
Instead the countries should encourage farmers to grow and sell healthy organic foods like vegetables, fresh fruits, non-adulterated rice, wheat and other grains. They should be given economic incentives for doing so and their products should be widely promoted and priced evenly so that common people of the country can afford it.
Only thing that can save countries’ economy as well as citizens’ health are tighter economic policies and regulation of unhealthy eatables and drinks, which increase obesity. Governments need to take measures to reduce consumption of fast foods and soft drinks and may be even reverse the growing epidemic of obesity.