Factors, Intervention and Ethical Principles of Obesity

Food Industry External Change In Obesity Reduction

Although rapid diabetes increased rates are contributed by a number of factors, fast foods and other food industry roles are controversial in addressing the epidemic. Various external changes can be implemented in the food industry to reduce obesity epidemic. Bobba (2016) explains that corporate social responsibility is one way of that food industry can reduce the epidemic. Another way is the implementation of government policies in limiting the contribution of the food industry in obesity promotion. Implementation of the external factors will contribute to positive results in obesity reduction.

Corporate Social Responsibility

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) involves taking responsibility to have a positive impact on the decision of a company on environment and society. According to Bobba (2016), CRS are set self-regulation integrated by companies in their business model. In curbing obesity, the CRS policies may utilize the health policy in establishing brand value and consumer goodwill, as it creates a profit-driven incentive that engages in obesity prevention. While constructing CSR policy, self-motivation can be detrimental to the prevention of obesity, where the food industries shift the blame to ‘sedentarism’ from ‘foods’ in their market rather than quality alterations in their products. As a strategy of government regulation avoidance, the food industry may create an opening in sports and health promotion role, which in short term contributes to preventative health programs. 

Government Regulations

Government regulation is another external change that reduces the rates of obesity in the Western societies. One legislative change according to Bobba (2016) is cost measure where a fat tax may be imposed on industries producing foods high in fat and sugar content which increases the cost of the foods thus reducing its cost. Most food industries spends a lot of money advertising on their foods, the advertisement should be restricted to avoid the spread of misleading information to consumers on foods elevating the problem. Therefore, combating procedures requires a multi-faceted approach which combats unhealthy foods. 

Internal Control of Overeating

The tendency of overeating is caused by stress or other psychological factors. Emotional eating is the overeating trend in response to negative emotion causing both psychological and physical implication. Eating dysregulation is the tendency of a person not being sensitive or responsive to internal cues of satiety and hunger in deciding the amount of food eat, thus overreliance of external factors to initiate and stop feeding. According to Wansink, Payne, and Chandon (2012), there is a possibility of intense emotional arousal like elevated stress level to make a person insensitive to their own satiety and hunger cues. Therefore, confusion between emotional arousal and hunger makes a person mistake the arousal sensation as a cue for hunger making them overeat.

One advantage of overeating is that it can be controlled by following simple tactics. One control method of overeating is developing a healthier relationship with food, which is based on nutritional needs rather than emotional cues. According to Tan and Chow (2017), this can be achieved by avoiding the temptation to eat, eating regularly, focused eating, listening to the body, fighting boredom and failure to avoid fats. Dieting is not the solution as it triggers deprivation and hunger which prompts the urge to overeat and cravings. Thus, instead of an individual with eating disorder dieting, he or she should focus on eating moderation. 

An individual may identify better ways to feed their feelings to reduce overeating. BA, I, JC, and WPT (2004) illustrate the common reasons for overeating which include anxiety, fear, depression, loneliness and stress which are evaporated to thin air by overeating, however, their relief is brief. Therefore, it is important to identify the triggers by use of mood and food diary, as well as learning to tolerate the triggers of the feelings. An individual may support themselves with healthy lifestyle habits by engaging in activities like connecting with others, regular exercise, stress management and getting enough sleep. Hence, controlling overeating is a simple strategy that requires commitment. 

Ethical Principles in Obesity

The struggles to counter the rise of obesity and overweight such as compulsory physical exercise for obese individuals, limits on commercial advertising, or taxes on certain foods and beverages have raised issues on ethical principles. Holm 2007 explains that the main ethical values or principles are in respect to the promotion of the common good, the pursuit of a good life, self-determination, obligations between justice and parents and children. Two basic ethical problems arise, the first being when and whether it is justifiable to intervene in promoting an individual’s own health. The second issue is when and whether it is justifiable to negatively affect an individual’s well-being in the pursuit of promoting others. 

There are an ethical issue while targeting high-risk groups due to problems like changed self-perception and social stigmatization with the issues obviated if the targeting is based on self-identification. Another ethical issue is choice and responsibility where the notion is an individual is responsible for the foreseeable consequences of their actions and choices. This is an indication that obese people are responsible for their condition thus creating stigma. There are many debates on who is responsible, but studies and future researchers should understand it is not a zero-sum game. Therefore, there is no reason to believe that it is the responsibility of only one party to be held responsible.


BA, S., I, C., JC, S., & WPT, J. (2004). Diet, nutrition and the prevention of excess weight gain and obesity. Public Health Nutrition, 7(1a). http://dx.doi.org/10.1079/phn2003585

Bobba, S. (2016). The role of the food industry in tackling Australia’s obesity epidemic. The Australian Medical Journal. Retrieved from http://www.amsj.org/archives/3445

Holm, S. (2007). Obesity interventions and ethics. Obesity Reviews, 8(s1), 207-210. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-789x.2007.00343.x

Tan, C., & Chow, C. (2017). Stress and emotional eating: The mediating role of eating dysregulation. Personality And Individual Differences, 66, 1-4. http://dx.doi.org/1.1016/j.paid.2014.02.033

Wansink, B., Payne, C., & Chandon, i. (2012). Internal and External Cues of Meal Cessation: The French Paradox Redux?. Obesity, 15(12). Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1038/oby.2007.348/pdf

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