The latest entry in the absurd files involves a 56-year-old Bronx maintenance worker suing four fast food restaurants for his weight and health problems. While the prevalence of fast food chains and the ease to which this food can be had may contribute to the obesity of America, expecting individual restaurants to take responsibility is just another example of the real cause of the overweight problem: complacency and sedentary lifestyles.
Caesar Barber may like to think McDonald’s is to blame for his two heart attacks and diabetes, but whose fault is it that he chose to eat that food? Millions of Americans don’t patronize McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, or Kentucky Fried Chicken or at the very least only eat the food occasionally. The fact is, millions of Americans lead sedentary lives, and don’t get the amount of exercise they need.
For McDonald’s or any of the other restaurants to give money to Barber would send the wrong message to Americans, and would give an excuse to the 34 percent of Americans who are overweight. It is an individual’s choice whether they eat fast food. There are different food options available. Many fast food restaurants are up front about the nutritional value of their food and often post placards with fat grams and calorie information in the dining rooms of their restaurants; McDonald’s and Wendy’s have both adopted this trend.
The suit is garnering national attention, according to an MSNBC.com article, and may be the first in a long line of lawsuits against such restaurant chains. But the suit is taking focus away from the real problem – people having jobs chained to desks, working 14-hour days and being unable to find the time or motivation to fit in a regular exercise routine.
Overweight and obesity problems in America are getting more and more out of control, and should be addressed. But blaming Ronald McDonald for bad eating habits isn’t the answer. Learning how to eat right, finding a few minutes a day to exercise and eating less fatty foods would be a start.