Who’s Responsible for Obesity?
Obesity is everybody’s responsibility – the parents and the school authorities, the fast food companies, and the government. Since the issue is now a societal problem after reaching epidemic proportions, it deserves no less than the attention of everybody to deal with obesity. (Raley & Burnor, n.
Hence, it is only proper to point out the individual accountabilities of these sectors of society and compel them to do their share in combating the problem.
While the responsibility of providing a healthy diet to children primarily belongs to the parents, school authorities are also duty-bound to inculcate into the minds of schoolchildren the correct values of nutrition.
Such are the duties assigned them by society: the former being the persons who have the obligation, under the laws of God and country, of nourishing their offsprings, the latter being the individuals who are in the best position to influence the young minds of children. If only the parents and the teachers have been doing their duties faithfully, fast food outlets would not have succeeded in causing obesity.
Even as fast foods companies have the right to advertise their products, such right does not free them of their moral obligation to warn the public about the adverse effects of their foods. The U.S. constitution itself would only allow the exercise of one’s rights as long as doing so does not deprive others of their own rights. In this context, fast foods companies are within their right to engage in gainful enterprise but they should not do so at the expense of the public’s health.
Even if the court exempted them from any legal liability after observing that everybody knows that fast foods contain “high levels of cholesterol, fat, salt and sugar, and that such attributes are bad for one,” the court’s legal opinion is not a moral judgment. The harmful effects of cigarettes are also well-known, but the law compels cigarette manufacturers to continuously warn the public. Why not oblige fast foods companies to do the same? (Raley & Burnor, n.d.)
Raley, Y. & Burnor, R. (n.d.). Case 1: Who’s Responsible for Obesity? (Article provided with