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Avoidance of obesity is a personal responsibility

Melvin B. Miller

Americans once believed that obesity resulted from continual overeating. That was before medical science examined the issue. Recently the American Medical Association declared that obesity is a disease.

Now people carrying a few extra pounds can behave unselfconsciously like other Americans suffering from an illness. They can pop pills to cure the malady. This is bad news for African Americans. Low income blacks have a very high rate of obesity and they are less likely to be able to afford the magic medication for the cure.

While it is true that some people can eat a meager diet of fruit and vegetables and still put on weight, that is not what normally happens. A lack of exercise and little dietary discipline conspire to cause people to graduate to the next clothes sizes.

The consequences of obesity are severe: heart disease, diabetes and an early death. No policy on obesity should induce people to lose sight of the fact that they are personally responsible for their good health by adhering to sound lifestyle practices.