SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

March 28, 2013

Letter: Obesity is not the government's problem

To the editor:

Obesity is not the government’s problem. It is true that obesity causes medical problems, but so does uncontrolled dieting. We live in a stressful world, and people relieve their stress by smoking, drinking, taking drugs or food. The government is right to control the first three because they not only harm the individual but other people around him.

We tend to keep our eating habits even though we have many labor-saving devices that require less calories. Every meeting draws attendees by offering food. I was appalled as a member of town meetings years ago, to find adults passing around food like children at a matinee. The family sitting down together at dinner is a thing of the past. Everyone seems to have some other place to go. This not only offered an opportunity to serve good balanced meals, but also taught the children good table manners, often lacking today as children grab something out of the refrigerator, or drink milk and juice from the container rather than using a glass. TV viewers are armed with cookies or chips.

Children who used to have free time to play outside and organize their own games are now organized into groups led by adults or glued to their video games. They are driven everywhere instead of walking because their parents are fearful of predators. There is a plethora of fast-food restaurants, so it is easier to take the family to them rather than eating at home. High-calorie foods are not only advertised to children but to adults on TV. Aroma is half the job of eating, but how much aroma comes from a packaged food that is being microwaved? The aroma of a bakery’s bread draws in customers who also buy high-calorie pastries while there. A parent’s duty is to see that their child gets wholesome, nutritious food. It is not the responsibility of the school department.

Pride is another thing that is lacking today. Do people care how they look? When we let the government take complete charge of us, we have lost that precious right. Individual freedom.

Dorothy V. Gregory

Swampscott

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