A preventive manual for obesity

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A preventive manual for obesity


As I pass by the Gwangjang Market, it is hard to resist the addictive gimbap and green bean pancakes. Every day after work, the temptation finds me all the time. But that’s not the end. So many snack shops are around my local bus stop, and my internal struggle begins once more. I feel obliged to try every spot at least once, but at the same time, I am also wary of gluttony.

In my case, I gave up losing weight a long time ago, and my current goal is to keep my shape through a balanced diet. Last year, I tried an easy fix, which backfired on my health. I saw a commercial on television about a dietary supplement that prevents carbohydrates from turning into fat. It showed models binging on pizza and fried chicken. For a while, I ambitiously consumed sweet deserts and pizza, which I had avoided before. The supplement has taught me that there was no way to maintain the weight while eating as much as I wanted. It was hard enough to lose the weight that I had put on, and it was even more painful to keep away from the sweet and greasy food choices that had whetted my appetite.

A recent report by the BBC said that researchers from Cambridge University determined that people who had easier access to take-out food joints, like pizza shops and fast food chains, are twice as likely to become obese than those who encountered those places less.

It’s not easy to ignore the visible temptation of food, as I often experience in Gwangjang Market. The researchers also proposed restricting fast food outlets around schools to help reduce obesity among children. But Columbia University’s research proposed a different solution: Instead of blaming fast food chains for the obesity epidemic, perhaps these eateries should develop healthier menu options. I personally support the latter.

Restricting the restaurant industry would not reduce obesity. Even if it could, it would lead to other adverse side effects.

But we cannot let the calorie-packed greasy food drive consumers into obesity any longer. If obesity could be controlled with personal willpower, it wouldn’t have become a social problem. Today, 27 percent of the population is overweight and 5 percent is obese. Instant food, fast food and street food are cheap and high in calories while low in nutrients. So people with less financial means are more likely to become obese and sick.

The authorities and industries need to work together to prepare a preventive manual that is feasible through policies and makes street food and instant food healthier. I also hope that we can start a movement to eat less. Nowadays, good food is overly praised in the media. Delicious foods are just too tempting to resist, and they have ill effects on health and wellness in the end.

JoongAng Ilbo, March 20, Page 31

*The author is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.


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