Welcome to Rye Country Day's Economic Blog. Here you will find perspectives by students taking Economics at Rye Country Day School. It is meant to be a forum where students can openly express their ideas and take positions on relevant economic issues. I urge everyone to participate in presenting their own ideas in an open manner so that we can all learn from each other. Regardless of whether you are currently taking Economics, everyone is invited and encouraged to comment on articles and get involved. Feel free to e-mail me, Alex Osborne at email@example.com , with comments or suggestions.
Saturday, December 16, 2006
Featured Entry - Personal Health Not Enough?
Obesity is definitely a problem for Americans. Since the United States is so wealthy, Americans have to worry about eating too much and gaining too much weight (while in Africa, people are trying not to die of starvation). How does America solve the ridiculous problem of obesity?
It’s simple. The most important economic principle (according to me) is that people respond to incentives. If people eat too much McDonalds or ice cream, there are obvious healthy risks; however, people seem to care about that less than money and convenience. As a result, I propose an alteration in health insurance that will make living unhealthily more expensive. This is a great monetary measure to get people to stay healthy. If a person belongs to a gym, then their health plan (and if old enough, life insurance) is less expensive. In addition, the government should force unhealthy food producers to place a warnings on their product and advertisements. For example, at the end of a McDonalds commercial, there would be a short sentence saying that consumption of McDonalds may lead to high cholesterol and high blood pressure which could lead to hear attack. Even though the government can educate the American people through advertisements, the government has little control in the problem. It is unconstitutional for the government to regulate a free market like fast food. Burger King is producing a good and there is a demand for it, the US government can not artificially raise the price with taxes because it is an abuse of their powers. The government does have the right to force Burger King to inform consumers of its
product’s health risks. I believe my two solutions, education and monetary measures will go a long way in solving the problem of obesity.