Module Teaching Notes
OK, so away from imaginary ads, and on to a single specific issue.
The obesity epidemic is an incredible problem. Only about 1 in 3 adults is at an optimal body weight.
Another 1/3 fit the medical definition of "overweight", and a final 1/3 meet the definition of "obese".
Projections show these problems intensifying substantially over the next three decades.
Costs associated with the problem will be very high.
Texas released a series of maps recently that show how one often-weight related condition – type II
diabetes – will trend over the next 30 years. The maps show, in full color, how diabetes will increase
dramatically in EVERY COUNTY IN THE STATE in a single generation. Rural or urban, East Texas or
West, the increase will be everywhere.
And so, what, if anything, is to be done? Do we merely say, "Well, people have to make their own choices
about what to eat, and that's that"? Do we try a slew of new regulations? If so, what will the regulations
look like? And who will create them? If you wish, present the First Lady's proposals to the group as well.
After introducing these ideas (and expanding on them, it you wish), you should pose the questions in the
last paragraph to the group for discussion. Try to steer the conversation away from assigning fault and
towards answers / good directions for the future.
In the end, it may be that Congress, or administrative agencies, seek to directly regulate the food industry.
If such an attempt is made, it will be met with ferocious lobbying efforts and legal challenges. New rules
may or may not stand.
It might also be true that the food industry itself volunteers to make some changes in how it markets
The near-term battleground will probably center on foods that appeal to children. Childhood obesity seems
to generate more public concern than adult obesity.
The scenario that concludes the module addresses these issues from several angles.