Obesity: who’s responsible?

A question from Yahoo! Answers:

Is the food industry responsible for the problem of obesity in America?

This is my modern oratory question and I need opinions and reasons.

In moral terms, yes, in the same way car manufacturers are morally responsible for traffic fatalities or weapons manufacturers, for war-related deaths. In legal terms, the courts (so far) don’t think so.

A lot of blame for the obesity lies squarely with the school system. Instead of building smaller schools to which the majority of children can walk, bike, or, if necessary, take public transportation, American education authorities insist on building monstrous megaschools with thousands of students in them and busing students in and out. (About the only reason for that I can think of is that a bigger school can have a better football team, because larger selection pool means greater probability of finding enough athletes to comprise a winning team… The thought of separating competitive sports from schools, obvious to a lot of people in Europe and Asia, is yet to take hold in America…)

Societal attitudes do contribute, too. In Europe or Japan, a ten-year-old riding a bus or a commuter train without an accompanying adult is a common occurrence. Children can move about on their own and attend all sorts of activities without having to ask their parents to drive them around. In most of the U.S., public transportation is regarded as a service for the underclass, so children are locked in homes instead…

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