Self-responsibility is Not Exclusive to Obesity
Opening my Web browser today, I instantly saw three different news stories talking about obesity. Story #1 talked about “obesity and autism,” story #2 talked about “obesity and foot disorders” and story #3 talked about “obesity and diabetes.” Three different obesity-related stories on one Web site, in just one day, and yet, we still don’t get it.
Some would say that working in the field of obesity for seven years now would maybe make me “hypersensitive” to media stories on obesity. I would, respectfully, disagree. See, this is what I don’t understand. Every single day there is a news story about obesity, childhood obesity, effects of obesity, obesity-related diseases, cost of obesity and the list goes on and on, yet we still, as a society, do not “get” that obesity is a serious issue. Why? Why don’t we understand this? Is it our personal biases toward obesity?
I often use a quote when working with the media stating that, “Obesity is not something that will impact the U.S. in five or 10 years. Obesity is here. It is impacting us now and will continue to do so until it receives the respect it deserves.” I stand behind this quote 100%. This disease receives no respect. Read any story on obesity, and then read the comments at the bottom. You’re bound to see something like, “You fat people do it to yourselves.” “Just put down the fork.” “Ugh, I don’t know how you could get that big.” Really – come on be serious.
There is no denying that obesity and self-responsibility go hand-in-hand. But, my question is – what doesn’t have self-responsibility combined with it and why do we feel it is okay to attach self-responsibility with a steel chain to obesity, but not anything else?
Example, and this is one of my favorites, “Well, he ate poorly and did this to himself, so he shouldn’t get his treatment covered. He paid for the food. He can pay for the treatment.” Okay, what if I said, “Well, he smoked cigarettes for years and he paid for the cigarettes, so he really shouldn’t have lung cancer treatment covered by his insurance. He should pay out-of-pocket.”
Now, I’ve said this publicly and I’ve taken much heat for it – even received death threats for it. By no means am I saying that someone affected by cancer shouldn’t have access to care, but what I am saying is that before we, as a society, place blame and feel the need to pull the “self-responsibility” card, we must first look at all the things in life that have self/personal responsibility tied to them. And, if you take a good look, I think you’ll find that just about everything has “self-responsibility” tied to it somehow, someway.
Think about it…