Healthy Agenda

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Healthy Agenda 2014 Example Paper

All Americans share in the heritage of liberty and independence purchased throughout the history of our great nation by resolve and sacrifice. We also share a strong sense of community; we care about one another and will band together in our efforts to provide support to those in need of our assistance and support in instances where they are needed most. Our country has faced a number of challenges which have been addressed with gritty determination, banding together to get the job done and supporting one another in our efforts to uphold our democratic values, and to ensure that we all live vital and healthy lives. Yet, even in our darkest hours, when our country stood in perilous times we recognized the threats and understood the dangers. Sometimes, such instances are less obvious especially when considering the bounty that is one of the great hallmarks of living in a fertile nation. We become complacent because, in a manner, have created for ourselves a false sense of security, regardless of the notion that our way of living just may be one of the greatest threats posed to each and every one of us. The facts are clear, and there can be no denying that our country faces a health crisis of alarming proportions due to an increasingly unhealthy diet combined with a lack of physical activity. It is well passed the time for all of us to act for the sake of our country today, as well as for those generations to come.Healthy Agenda 2014 Example Paper

There are many individuals in our country who are inclined to debase scientific research, as well as the important facts which are discovered that may very well save us from harm and improve our chances of living long and healthy lives. Many such people argue that nutrition and exercise is the sole responsibility of individuals and efforts through government programs and community interventions is a threat to democratic values, or a move towards socialism (Balko). These people would also have us accept the notion that obesity is not a public health issue and that efforts to stem the tide of obesity in this country are nothing more than entitlement programs that give to those who are irresponsible and cannot account for their own behavior (Balko). Such arguments are central to providing unbridled rein for free markets, where the concern for increasing profits appears to take precedence, even over the health and wellbeing of our children. In response it is necessary to turn to science and medicine because there is no disputing the fact that even our youngest are targets for an unbridled consumer ideology that has placed them on a trajectory of life-long health issues, or is responsible for increasingly shortened life-spans. We know that as far back as the early 1990s only five percent of all cases of children suffering from Type 2 diabetes were caused by obesity. Since then, increasing access to fast food, and instances where such foods have become commonplace in the lives of children and their families, has resulted in an explosion of cases where 30 percent of all children with Type 2 diabetes are obese (Zinczenko).

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Advocates who support free markets while favoring personal responsibility seem always to overlook children in debates that center on health. Their ire is focused upon the behaviors of adults whom they charge are responsible and that insurance companies should charge an excise for illnesses caused through obesity or by being overweight (Balko). Such arguments resonate with a certain portion of the American public due to the increase in health insurance premiums, which these advocates argue are responsible for paying the bill for the choice of living unhealthy lifestyles. There is some credence to what they are saying, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that diabetes alone accounts for $100 billion in health care costs annually (Zinczenko). Yet, the price tag alone does not account for the human lives that are at risk, a good deal of them being children and adolescents. Advocates who favor free market approaches seem to conveniently leave out young people as if they do not exist; or that children and adolescents have no stake in a debate that has to do with their health and wellbeing. Left to its own devices the free market seems almost to be a predator having little to no regard for the well-being of young people. The fast food industry alone spends well in excess of $1 billion annually in advertisements, much of it targeting our children and youth (Zinczenko). Evidenced by such expenditures they certainly must exist, and yet advocates who favor a free market that is not tethered to government regulation or not subject to community standards seem always to conveniently lose sight of the fact that young people actually do exist and are entitled to protections afforded by their parents and caregivers, the community and the nation as a whole. How could this be otherwise?Healthy Agenda 2014 Example Paper

What is the result of acquiescing to those who advocate in favor of a free market and personal responsibility? The answer is something far less than ideal. Free market advocates preface the issue of obesity as if those who suffer from its devastating consequences do not make the effort to assume responsibility. But allowing corporations free reign on issues related to nutrition is, in a fashion, similar to rolling the dice, most times resulting in ‘snake eyes.’ The New York Times reported that when visiting a website owned by a fast food company in order to learn about nutritional facts concerning its food items the paper found that a chicken salad served at its local outlets had 150 calories. However, other ingredients served with the salad, such as almonds, noodles and dressing, were not listed with the salad and the consumer was forced to look elsewhere on the website for related calorie information (Zinczenko). If the American public is to take responsibility for nutrition and health then why is it that the corporate world makes it that much more difficult to do so? In the same example, the company provides a packet of salad dressing reported as enough to serve upwards to two and one-half portions of salad. If the consumer uses the entire packet their caloric intake would have taken up over half of what is currently recognized as being the daily calorie intake (Zinczenko). The point being, if American citizens, including young people, are to assume responsibility for their nutrition then why is it so difficult for companies to assist them in such goals? Did it not occur to such a fast food enterprise that by reducing the amount of salad dressing in a packet to an appropriate serving would actually reduce costs as they reap the benefit of public relations associated with being a responsible community member?

Small towns across the country are besieged by economic hardship and inexpensive fast food outlets. Less than a hundred miles southeast of Lexington, Kentucky is the Appalachian community of Manchester, which has a total population of 2,100 (Haygood). Its residents have been hard hit by the economic downturn and a reduction in coal production caused by an upsurge in alternative energy sources. This has also resulted in a closure of local businesses but has not prevented a good number of well-known fast food restaurants from opening close to the interstate that passes by Manchester. As a result, there are no other options for residents other than fast food which is directly attributable to an obesity rate in the small town of an estimated 52 percent, almost twice that of the national average of 24 percent (Haywood). As a poor community there are no resources available to help Manchester residents with their nutritional needs. There are also no places for adults and young people to go in which to partake in organized activities that provide physical exercise or educational opportunities related to nutrition and health (Haywood). There are far too many towns such as Manchester in need of guidance in order to overcome obstacles towards healthy lives.

The spirit that is found in each and every American is oftentimes expressed in our concern for each other and in the care that we have for our children and youth. During times of deprivation we turn towards one another for support. We can no longer abide by the notions of the free market who place the onus of responsibility on the individual without acknowledgement of their own role in the health-related affairs of the country. A community is not only comprised of men, women and children but also of the companies who are run and managed by people as well. Responsibility rests with all of us, and the stake to ensure that we all live healthy lives is invested by all as well. We can no longer abide by the lofty notions of free market advocates whose sole motivation rests with monetary gain, and it is painfully obvious that libertarian ideals are woefully inadequate when it comes to the health and well-being of America’s young. These reasons are why this administration proposes to implement a far-reaching strategy that addresses the health-related consequences of obesity in this country, with much of it requiring an investment by all.Healthy Agenda 2014 Example Paper

We must now turn our ambitions towards a new fight that ensures a far healthier future for our country. In order to do so we must hold corporations responsible for assisting in this goal by easily providing consumers with the necessary information to make informed decisions about their nutritional needs. In the case of the fast food industry, they must now provide easy to understand nutritional facts that are labeled on each product sold at their places of business. They must no longer obscure nutritional information on their websites, the idea being that for every food item listed information related to calories and nutrition are visibly accounted for their associated product. Where instances of condiments such as salad dressings are provided in unnecessarily large packages, such packaging will be reduced to reflect an appropriate and nutritionally valid single-serving. The federal government, in cooperation with state and local governments, will assist in community efforts to not only educate citizens about nutrition, but will also invest in the necessary facilities and expertise needed to develop exercise and recreational programs. Schools will play a huge role, and where obesity rates for both adults and young people exceed those of the national average schools will provide the necessary programs that will guide each person towards a healthier life.Healthy Agenda 2014 Example Paper

Addressing a sedentary lifestyle and lack of knowledge concerning nutrition is achievable through the cooperation of citizens throughout our great country it still remains that we must look at food through an entirely different prism. In this sense, we must look at our food as well as our diets by gazing into the past (Pollan 142). We must all ask what it was that prior generations did that allowed them to live far, healthier lives. But, without committing to action this newly gained knowledge remains ineffectual. We must fully understand that the manner by which our foods are processed are also a leading cause of the aversive nature of our health crisis today (Pollan 142), and we will call upon our nation’s food processors to develop healthier alternative when bringing their products to market. Through legislation and executive order, corporations will be forced to join our efforts to make healthy choices while reaching an objective that allows every adult and young person the right to live healthy, vital lives. In a sense, this is change in American culture that pits the forces of open markets against the needs of communities (see: Pollan 141-142). Our aim should be towards an inclusion that offers foods that are nutritionally whole combined with a movement away from the sedentary nature of today’s American lifestyle. It is a move towards simplicity, and affords each adult and young person a fair opportunity towards living healthy lives.

References
Balko, Radley. “What You Eat Is Your Business.” Commentary. Cato Institute. Cato Institute, 23
May 2004. Web. 11 Nov. 2014.
Haygood, Will. “Kentucky Town of Manchester Illustrates National Obesity Crisis.” Washington
Post. Washington Post, 12 July 2010. Web. 11 Nov. 2014.
Pollan, Michael. “Escape From the Western Diet.” In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto.
New York: Penguin, 2008. 139-46. Print.
Zinczenko, David. “Don’t Blame the Eater.” New York Times Archives. New York Times, 23
Nov. 2002. Web. 11 Nov. 2014.Healthy Agenda 2014 Example Paper