Professor Mac Ilvaine
23 September 2018
Where does the Blame Fall?
According to David Zinczenko’s article entitled “Don’t Blame the Eater” (2002), Radley
Balko’s entitled “What you Eat Is Your Business” (2004), Michael Moss’ article entitled “The
Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food” (2013), author demonstrates their take on the
obesity epidemic and what action should be taken, Zinczenko, Balko, and Moss each promote
the awareness that needs to take place. Their purpose is to educate the public on living a long and
healthy life. Intended for an audience that is consciously aware of their health. Obesity is
heavily influenced by your choices, food companies, vast unhealthy food advertising, and the
government's lack of regulations.
Zinczenko claims that it is not one's fault for following an unhealthy lifestyle but the fault
does fall upon the lack of alternative choices that are given. Obesity has been an ongoing
problem that seems to have several factors that lead to it, but is personal responsibility one? We
live in a world where at every corner you drive by there is a hundred percent chance that you will
stumble across a fast food chain. It is a marketing point for these industries to make these places
as accessible as possible and incredibly affordable. According to Howard Friedman and Leslie
R. Martin’s article entitled “The Longevity Project” (2011), there is tremendous data secrets to
longevity.” Their personalities, career trajectories, and social live proved highly relevant to their
long term health” (Friedman and Martin para 3) one's food and eating habits are affected by daily
life and personal choices. When it comes to personal responsibility there is a point in which it is
your fault, at the same time that there's an exception that Zinczenko is trying to provide more
information about through personal experience. You have to keep in mind that some individuals
don't have a say in what they eat and sometimes these fast food joints are all they can afford.
Think about the total cost, especially when it comes to families. These companies make it a
priority to promote deals that feed large amounts to make it more appealing to having to pay less.
With the advancement of technology, society does not go one day without their phones and on
these phones are advertisements that are constantly promoting fast food. Zinczenko
demonstrates through his title that the consumer is not the only one to blame but the producer
and everyone as a whole.
Balko's argues that what you feed your body is your personal responsibility and the
consequences that lie within it are not ones that the government should take accountability for. In
making this claim Balko urges us to see that the government has no part in what we do to our
bodies but liability does fall on you. No one is forcing you to eat the food that slowly
deteriorates your body, the food that leads to the top cause of deaths in the United States. For
those who have medical insurance that was given to them by the government but still decided to
follow an unhealthy lifestyle are not taking any blame. They are practically getting rewarded,
while several have to pay a costly amount. Why invest in a case where the person themselves
has to want to get out of. Lidia Iuliana Arhire article entitled “Personal and Social
Responsibility in Obesity” claims “When responsibility becomes particularly burdensome to
people, it invites forms of resistance. Thus, in order to protect our self-esteem, we often blame
others for our own failures”(Arhire). If they know the effects of what they're doing why not take
responsibility? The government is spending money to provoke a change in the obesity epidemic,
all the money that is being invested is pointless if the person is not willing to make it their
business to change.
Moss focuses on the increasement of obesity throughout the United States due to the
food industries production of unhealthy products puts in perspective what mindset these
companies have. When it comes to sales and profits the company will do anything in its power
to benefit themselves at the cost of others with no doubt in mind. And if a change does need to
be made but doesn't produce the outcome that one wants then they'll take the measures needed to
boost their sales. All these companies lack empathy towards what the product they are selling is
doing to the consumer's body. For instances, Sanger the head of General Mills states, "Don't talk
to me about nutrition, talk to me about taste, and if this stuff tastes better, don't run around trying
to sell stuff that doesn't taste good" (Moss 661). Why should that matter to them if they're not
forcing anyone to buy it? It is too competitive to try to fit the everyone's needs and the whole
point of creating a product is for the sole purpose of it being bought and enjoyed enough so the
consumer will want to buy it again. According to Afonso M. Hereida, Joao Hipolito, Odete
Nunes, Luisa Ribeiro, Tatiana Moura, and Tito Lanerio, “Fast-Food Marketing Strategies and
their Impact on Childhood Obesity” Journal of Spatial and Organizational Dynamic, Vol V, Iss
3, Pp 297 (2017), “Food marketing is strongly directed to younger groups, especially towards
children, including pre-school children, with the intent of creating not only brand recognition but
also preference and loyalty. A specific product can be asked for by a child as young as 2 years
old, and 76% of the times it will be requested inside a supermarket” (Hereida). It is deceptive
and has programmed children into believing that they want this unhealthy product due to it being
pitched a product without even knowing it. It's become a marketing stunt for these companies to
put in eye-catching fonts of what the customer wants to see, such as low fat, diet, and all natural
to draw attention off what it really contains.
There are those who believe that the obesity epidemic fault falls on either the industries,
yourself, or the government should have several reasons to take in consideration. For example,
personal responsibility has been an issue on the topic of obesity. However one should
acknowledge how unethical it is for these companies to manipulate the consumers. They are
knowingly selling products that are harmful in the long run. If these companies keep up what
they are doing they will surely lose their customers due to all the health problems that follow.
Furthermore, time has become a factor into why numerous fall into fast food chains. They have
to fight against time living in a society that is so fast-paced. Having to grab a fast meal on the
go. Nevertheless, time has become scared and is something that many lack to have.
As a result of everything that plays a role in the dietary aspect of your lifestyle, one can
conclude that the obesity epidemic is not moving anywhere unless changes are made to better
everyone's decisions. The fast-food chain will continue to expand and the consumers we just
have more access to them. The government will continue to try to raise awareness but will fail
due to the lack of personal responsibility. Healthier options will become scarce and eventually,
every possible food market will have to conform to sell these products in order to stay in
business. Companies will find new chemicals or ingredients to make their food more addicting
and there will be no way to actually see what they put into one's food. All the public will see is
an appealing advertisement with the next big thing.
Balko, Radley. “What You Eat is Your Business.” ?They Say I Say ?, 3rd Edition. New York:
Norton. Print. Retrieved on 18 Sept 2018.
Friedman Terman and Leslie R. Martin. “The Longevity Project.” n.c. The New York Times
Company, 2011. Print. Retrieved on 20 Sept 2018.
Heredia M. Afonso, Joao Hipolito, Odete Nunes, Luisa Ribeiro, Tatiana Moura, Tito Laniero.
“Fast-Food Marketing Strategies and their Impact on Childhood Obesity.” n.c. Research
Centre for Spatial and Organizational Dynamics, 2017. Web. Retrieved on 27 Sept 2018.
Retrieved from http://www.cieo.pt/journal/J_3_2017/article9.pdf
Iuliana Lidia Arhire. “Personal and Social Responsibility in Obesity.” n.c. Sciendo, 2015. Web
Retrieved on 27 Sept 2018. Retrieved from
Moss, Michael. “The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food.”They Say I Say, 3rd
Edition. New York: W.W. Norton. Print. Retrieved on 21 Sept 2018.
Zinczenko, David. “Don’t Blame the Eater.” ?They Say I Say ?, 3rd Edition. New York:
W.W. Norton. Print. Retrieved on 17 Sept 2018.