France is a country known for its savory cuisine and fine wine. Despite its rich fare, it is also known for being a nation where very few people suffer from obesity. With that in mind, France’s government wants to lower its obesity rate even further by banning refills in restaurants that sell soda. This latest ban joins other regulations that are designed to keep France’s population fit, healthy, and trim.
France’s Movements to Prevent Obesity
Only about 15 percent of France’s population suffers from obesity. Still, that rate is high enough to cause the government alarm and advocate for measures to lower it even more. The latest move the country has taken involves banning soda refills in restaurants. People who buy soda in these venues are only allowed one serving apiece.
Along with banning soda refills, the government of the hexagon has also limited schools in how often they can serve fries. Schools in France are only permitted to serve French fries to students once a week. The other four days must feature meals with healthier side options like fruits and vegetables.
France is not alone in its effort to keep obesity rates low. Mexico has implemented a 10 percent tax on sugary sodas. In Japan, citizens must tolerate their waists being measured by government authorities on a regular basis. Government officials throughout Japan must also encourage people to exercise and eat low-fat diets.
Some of the people living in these countries do not agree with the government interfering in their personal lives. They say that the authorities have no business telling them what foods they can and cannot eat or buy. Likewise, they say that everyone should have personal accountability for their lifestyle choices.
Government officials disagree. They say that personal accountability leads to obesity rates like those seen in the U.S. Over 36 percent of Americans are obese. The rates in the U.S. also show no prospects of lowering anytime soon.
American Efforts to Curb Obesity
Despite over three in ten Americans being obese, U.S. doctors and scientists continue to find new ways to fight this public health crisis. New York City’s mayor proposed limiting the size of sodas that can be sold in city limits. The city’s health board backed his move; however, it was voted down by citizens who argue that the city has no business telling them how to eat.
Former First Lady, Michelle Obama, also tried to help by creating a new public school lunch program. The program serves more fruits and vegetables while cutting back on carbohydrates and sugars. The initiative has been met with widespread criticism and expense. Many school districts report that students refuse to eat the food served to them.
Universities, hospitals, and other public entities also continue to push for people to make better dietary and fitness choices. Public awareness campaigns regularly air on TV and the radio, encouraging people to exercise more, cut back on sugar and fat, and eat plenty of whole grains, fresh fruits, and vegetables. Thus far, the efforts have been minimally successful. The obesity rate has shown no promise of lowering in the U.S. Still, scientists and doctors are hopeful that their efforts will pay off in time.
Obesity is a worldwide epidemic that plagues countries like the U.S. and Malta and, on a lesser scale, nations like Japan and France. Some governments feel like it is their duty to restrict what kinds of foods people can buy in public. Others feel like people should be accountable for themselves. Most agree that obesity takes a negative toll on a country’s resources and morale, and should be addressed accordingly.
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