“If ever there were a newspaper headline custom-made for Jay Leno’s monologue, this was it. Kids’ taking on McDonald’s this week, suing the company for making them fat. Isn’t that like middle-aged men suing Porsche for making them get speeding tickets? Whatever happened to personal responsibility? ” David makes an excellent point as he opens his article, but then contradicts himself by telling us that he believes McDonalds is to blame for obesity in America. It is my belief that his entire article can be invalidated in just two words: personal responsibility.
Each individual is responsible for the decisions that they make regarding their health or any aspect of their life for that matter. If we blame fast food restaurants for making us obese, where does the blame stop? It is even more critical for parents to recognize the need for personal responsibility, because they are not only responsible for their health, but they are responsible for teaching their children how to eat right and take care of themselves as they grow up. Some might argue that if fast food chains changed their portion size or labeled their products with nutritional information, that consumers would make better choices.
If society is allowed to blame obesity on a fast food restaurant, then it will start a downward spiral with no end in sight. Are casinos to blame for gambling addictions? Are tobacco companies to blame for cancer? With this mindset, one can do anything they want and never accept responsibility for any of it. Personal responsibility must be reinforced if we are going to accomplish anything. The only one to blame for the decision to eat a cheeseburger, gamble away your income, or light up a cigarette is the person that makes the decision.
We are seeing more and more frivolous lawsuits making their way through the courts and judges are awarding plaintiffs on even the most ridiculous suits. Yes, fast food restaurants are bad for our health, but so are cigarettes and alcohol. Gambling is bad for our finances. Infidelity is bad for our marriages. Do we blame the tobacco companies? Do we blame the alcohol companies? How about the casinos that lure us in and take our hard earned money, or the television and movie producers that glorify cheating?
Not only does this attitude have an incredibly negative affect on our health and well-being, but it takes a horrible toll on our children’s. They are learning that there is no accountability for their actions. We can already see this in the way some children behave in public. Parents are also responsible for ensuring their kids are getting a healthy diet and some form of daily exercise regimen. It is all too easy to simply say “I do not have time to cook my kids a healthy meal because I work too many hours to pay the bills. Maybe we should be asking ourselves, “Could I save enough money by cooking healthy meals instead of eating out at fast food restaurants, which would allow me to work fewer hours? ” I was very overweight as a child and yet my parents never allowed me to have fast food. They weren’t strict enough at the dinner table and they allowed me to have too many snacks. Because I was always required to clean my plate, I often ate past being full. This lack of judgment on my parent’s part had nothing to do with any fast food restaurant. It had to do with my parent’s methods for raising and disciplining me.
In all honesty, my parents were to blame for my childhood obesity. David seems to think that by forcing fast food restaurants to cut their portion sizes and label their meals with nutrition information, people will stop eating fast food. However, most grocery store junk food products are labeled and it does not stop people from purchasing them. Furthermore, reducing portion sizes would only cause consumers to spend more to satisfy their appetites. This does not solve the problem of obesity, and also adds to the continuing downfall of our economy and financial instability.
If I want a large fry and they only have small, I am more apt to buy two or three smalls to get the same amount of fries. While David’s article was only about the role fast food restaurants are playing in the obesity crisis, it is indicative of a much bigger problem. Americans are blaming everyone but themselves for their actions and it needs to stop. If we do not learn to take personal responsibility over our everyday decisions, and we do not begin to educate our children to do the same, then many other problems besides obesity lie in our future.