Obesity increases the risk for heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes among many things. It can also cause an economic burden, according to Chicago Department of Public Health report. The medical costs of obesity are in the hundreds of billions and half of the costs are covered by Medicaid and Medicare.
Obesity is a highly preventable cause of death in Chicago and the rest of the country. It’s easy to just tell people that they should just eat healthier, but it’s not that simple for many people in many parts of Chicago. Lower income areas have low availability of healthier alternatives in their area. Another problem people face about eating healthier is that healthier food is much more expensive than greasy fast food. A person with a small budget is more likely to spend their money on something cheaper because it’s all they can afford.
I believe the best way for helping control the obesity problem is by providing an affordable availability of fresh produce and healthy foods all across the city. The city should work with local urban farms and community gardens and provide incentives for them to push healthy food options across the city. Affordable and highly available healthy food should be the 1st priority.
Proposing a tax on unhealthy fast food could also help lower the consumption of these foods. If an unhealthy option is more expensive than a healthy option then most people will lean toward the healthy side. Don’t tax bottled water, tax Big Macs.
Education on nutrition and providing 100% healthy lunches in school can also be a great solution. I attended Chicago Public Schools my first 18 years, and we were never taught about nutrition. We had a Physical Education Class, but we were mostly left to do whatever we wanted during these classes. When lunch time came, they fed us either hot dogs, hamburgers, or pizza. A healthy life starts with a proper education on healthy living.