Responseto an Article
Thearticle “What you eat is your business” was authored by BalkoRadley and published by Cato Institute on May 23, 2004. Radleyaddressed the issue of the government`s intervention in theregulation of what people eat, with the objective of reducing theprevalence of obesity in the U.S. From this article, it is evidentthat the majority of the stakeholders (including the nutritionalactivists, government agencies, policy makers, and the media) supportthe idea that the government should take control of the quality offoods that are available for consumption in the market. Towards theend of the article, Radley opposes the idea of the governmentintervention and uphold the notion that consumers should be allowedto make free choices regarding their eating habits.
FromRadley`s article, the government actions, which include theformulation of laws and policies to restrict the food processors andrestaurants from selling unhealthy foods is believed to be aneffective strategy for preventing obesity. While explaining theposition of the key stakeholders regarding the issue of thegovernment’s role in reducing the sale of unhealthy foods, Radleystated, “All agitating for a panoply of government anti-obesityinitiatives, including prohibition of junk food in school vendingmachines (p. 1). Those who support this view believe that thegovernment’s anti-obesity measures can be more effective sinceconsumers have proven that they are not responsible enough to mindabout the impact of the unhealthy foods on their health.
Theact of imposing the government initiatives can be defined as anattempt to deny citizens the autonomy to make choices on mattersaffecting their lives. This is because the government initiativeswill reduce the options and types of food available in the market forconsumers to select. In other words, the government has taken theresponsibility of determining what type of food that consumers shouldtake. Although the government has the responsibility of formulatingmeasures that can enhance the health of the people, regulating thecontent of the menu in the restaurants goes beyond its mandate. Theact has denied Americans the ownership of their well-being andhealth.
Theseverity of the action taken by the government to protect citizensfrom consuming unhealthy foods is confirmed by the fact that theauthorities seek to prohibit players in the food industry fromselling certain foods through the vending machines and forcing themto label their foods (Radley 1). In addition, the measure put inplace to limit the marketing campaigns that target children isinconsistent with the concept of a liberal market. In addition, thegovernment has reached a level at which public funds (about $ 200million) are being spent to endorse prohibitive laws and policies.Similarly, the proposed increase in tax on foods that are consideredas high calorie products will jeopardize the principles of a liberalmarket.
Thelist of measures that the government intends to use to regulate thefood market should not be subjected to formal procedures because theywill not solve the problem of obesity in the U.S. This is because thefood industry is large and the possibility of enforcing restrictivelaws is quite limited. On the contrary, educating the public aboutthe relationship between unhealthy foods and the risk of sufferingfrom obesity will increase the sense of responsibility amongconsumers. Therefore, the government should develop policies thatwill empower consumers to make the right choices, which is consistentwith the common belief and the opinion of the entire population ofthe Americans. The U.S. has a democratic society that holds a popularopinion that people should have the right to make choices.
Inconclusion, Radley’s article discussed a significant issue of therole that the government should play in containing the prevalence ofobesity. However, it is evident that the current body of policies andlaws contradicts the common beliefs and opinion of Americans, whosupport the principle of autonomy.
Radley,B. What you eat is your business. CatoInstitute.23 May. 2003. Web. 25 July 2016.