I read this week an article in the Sydney Morning Herald about a study conducted by the London School of Medicine on global obesity.
The researchers predict that if all people had increased their weight to the same average body mass index (BMI) as Americans (85 kg), it’s equivalent to adding one billion people to the world’s population. In short, it’s not just an increasing population we need to worry about for food security, it’s our widening girth.
So, now the agenda has broadened from chronic disease to ecological sustainability, are we doing enough to tackle obesity? Or are we quite happy for our kids to eat pizza and it be classified as one serving of a vegetable?
It’s a tricky line to tread, because civil libertarians would argue that as long as we can pay, we can do what we like in society, and that tackling obesity is moving towards a nanny state. The argument is the same as the tobacco industry continue to spruik – as long as you’re an adult, you should be free to choose what you want to do.
But when the burden on society is so great on our population and resources today and tomorrow, we can’t simply turn a blind eye and continue to pander to food lobbyists. Can we?
What do you think?
Should people be free to make their own choices, whatever the consequences on society? Or should governments step in and tackle the issue head on?