The Great Obesity Debate

Healthy eating and exercise are most important when it comes to weight loss

Healthy eating and exercise are most important when it comes to weight loss


On Thursday, 31 July 2008, On Line Opinion posted an article titled Fat People Eat too Much… written by Joseph Proietto and Jeffrey Zajac.  It deals with the increasing prevalence of obesity and the contributing factors and proposed solutions to the disease. 

The two Melbourne University professors make a number of valid arguments towards the great obesity debate, 

“Virtually all information in the media on obesity slants blame somewhere…Assigning blame leads nowhere except to reaction or over-reaction by those blamed.”

This idea results in the notion that one person or group of people, such as parents or the government, are not wholly responsible for the bulging Australian waistline, but merely that obesity is an issue that needs to be collectively addressed and not shifted from party to party.

Proietto and Zajac also link the increase in obesity with the increase in more readily available high calorie food in Western countries.  The writers use the phrase “free access to unlimited quantities of high calorie food”, but it could be argued that although unhealthy food is in most cases cheaper than the healthier alternatives, it is by no means ‘free’ with the ever-rising cost of supermarket prices.  However, as ‘Pelican’ points out in the comment section of the article, obesity can be a result of people choosing cheaper, more calorie rich food due to their socio-economic status.

The article also generated a few more comments from readers.  ‘Ozideas’ commented on the absence of depression as a contributing factor to obesity and ‘Arthur N’ dismissed the “assertion of the article that fat people are fat simply because they eat to much”.  

While these two opinions are a fair and just criticism of the article, the fourth comment by ‘Shadow Minister’ picks up on the ‘tablet’ solution discussed in the article, but instead discusses surgery as a cure.  This, along with diets that restrict or focus on certain food groups may work in the short term, but do nothing to educate people for long term results. 

What we need to learn is that all food groups can be eaten, although some more than others, and that we need to balance what we put in, with what we put out through exercising.


2 responses to “The Great Obesity Debate

  1. Hi there,

    I also disagree with the article titled “Fat People Eat too Much…”written by Joseph Proietto and Jeffrey Zajac. I have struggled with a weight issue for over fifteen years now. I am well educationed on which food is healthy and the foods that cause obesity. Even if healthy food was made cheaper I still would have brought the unhealthy food.

    All the education in the world will not help someone lose weight. Dropping the price of healthy food will not help. And blamming others for your weight problem doesn’t help either.

    I believe that we must learn to deal with our demons first. For the last three months I have lost weight and I am sticking to a healthy eating plan with exercise. I have lost 15 kgs. Why now after all these years of battlering the bulge? Because I have finally storted out my emotional problems.

    What we think about ourselves can cause us to over-eat. We must deal with these underlying issues first. We must learn to love ourselves for who we are then we can concentrate on weight lose.

  2. tablet solutions and surgery – they may provide an ephemeral solution to a problem, but nothing can compensate for a balanced diet and exercise. simply put it: if you want to control your weight you should only consume the amount of kilojoules your body needs for daily energy usage. i know of some people whom look for ‘get-fixed-quick’ solutions. so many of them don’t work.

    i think another problem is that people have very busy lifestyles and through these form deleterious habits. it is must easier and more convenient to pick up a pizza on the way home from work than to cook a healthy meal at home.

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