In today's society, too many people put the blame on obese people, as if they are the perpetrators of their own problems instead of the victims. I believe this blame helps no one. It does not help obese people, because overweight people will persistently live in shame and isolation. It does not help "normal-weight" individuals who think that they are healthy but are just as susceptible to metabolic diseases like overweight people. Furthermore, putting blame on obese people is overestimating the sins of gluttony and sloth and underestimating the sin of pride. In reality, no one person's sin is greater than another's. The sin of pride is just as harmful as other sins, but it's unique, because it directly challenges the authority of God. Also, people are a product of their genes, epigenes, environment, and culture; and those things can predispose people to eat more (gluttony) and move less (sloth).
Instead of seeing metabolic diseases as the result of being obese and thus a personal problem or conscious lifestyle choice, we as a society should view metabolic diseases as a collective problem and step up together. People are social creatures. They need society and social support. There are a number of reasons why I believe viewing metabolic diseases as a collective problem may be beneficial in the long run.
By the way, I view metabolic diseases, not obesity, as the biggest global threat. Some people are just fat but metabolically healthy; other people look thin, underweight, or overweight but metabolically unhealthy. At any size or weight, people should eat healthfully in moderation, engage in some kind of physical activity, have some kind of support group (family, friends, special-interest groups), and have regular health check-ups (to make sure the current and future workforce is strong).
1. Better stress-coping skills
Families and friends help each other in times of need and distress. People in collectivistic Far Eastern cultures may have a higher susceptibility to depression, but the occurrence of depression is lower than Western cultures. This suggests that collectivism may play a role in mediating depression. I think individualistic Western societies should learn from Far Easterners about the values of collectivism - sacrificing oneself for the greater good, seeing the world as a web of relationships, and the like. By focusing outward instead of inward, that may reduce the risk of stress-induced depression caused by negative body image, negative self-perception, poor self-esteem, job-related stresses, loneliness, and et cetera. Maybe if people have better stress-coping skills by having a strong, supportive social network, then people will be less inclined to find pleasures through highly palatable junk food.
2. Two (or more) minds are better than one
When people go on a diet in an attempt to lose weight, they are usually doing it to improve their self-image and self-esteem. Essentially, their self-esteem becomes dependent on their own appearance rather than what they have accomplished. Bystanders just assume that the person is "taking responsibility" of his own life and making right choices about lifestyle. It's every man or woman for himself or herself in this case. Sometimes, one family member would go on a weight-loss diet restriction, while other family members eat regular food. Personally, I don't see how this kind of arrangement is effective. First of all, the person on the diet will just get lonely and then quit the weight-loss meal plan. Second of all, cutting out pleasurable junk food in one's personal life while watching one's own family members happily devouring the junk food is no fun. Third of all, the family members are becoming sick because of the intake of the crappy food supply. Therefore, if one wants to become healthier, that should start at the family level, not the individual level. Family members should help each other find affordable, good-quality fresh, frozen and dried produce and whole animal products; family members should remind each other about healthy eating regularly; and most of all, family members should support each other and love each other unconditionally, regardless if they are fat or thin, healthy or sick.
3. Sharing is caring
Without a doubt, American portion sizes are big. However, this doesn't necessarily have to be a bad thing. It just means that Americans are living in abundance of both whole, real food and processed, junk food. The USDA MyPlate recommends that when eating out, people should share the same dish. This reduces overconsumption by one person. Even if the food is highly palatable and attractive (a jumbo-sized cookie about two palms in diameter), the fact that two or more people have to share it forces the people to eat less than what they want. That way, even if one person has disordered eating and wants to binge on the food, he can't, because the food is also consumed by someone else; and he can't buy more, because buying more means spending more money, which would raise concern from his loved ones because he's spending money on food for himself instead of providing food for the whole family or social group. Providing food for the whole family usually means buying high-calorie items, and those items are typically sold in bulk and in raw form. A 1-pound bag of dried beans yields more food than a pound of canned beans, which includes water weight and excessive salt and toxic metallic lining; apparently, buying dried beans is much more preferable than canned beans, because it is healthier and yields greater food quantity.
4. Seeing the world as a web of relationships
People should see the world as a web of relationships. Instead of putting blame on the individual, people should look at the context and understand the underlying root problems. This should relieve some emotional burden on the victims, so that they can correct the root problems (high stress at work) more efficiently than just treat the manifestations with pleasurable, addictive junk food. In purchasing food, people should constantly think of getting their money's worth. Prepared food products at the bakery, delicatessen, or fast food restaurant may seem convenient, but in reality, people are paying a lot of money for a little bit of food. People should really stop the "junk food is cheap" mentality, because any kind of processed food has gone through some kind of processing, and the costs of manufacturing and customer service are included in the final retail price. The sole reason why that mindset is spread about like the plague is that processed food companies want it to. They want people to buy more of their products. If people think they are getting more than they bargained for, or if people are hooked on it, then they will buy it indefinitely. The only way to change the current market of processed food is to decrease the demand. Members in society should push each other in the right direction and move toward good eating habits together. It's not about "I eat this, you eat that"; it's about we eat the same thing together, because we are part of the same culture. And that thing that we eat must be healthy for us, or our kind will be doomed. Processed food manufacturers will still live, but their profits will probably decrease tremendously.
5. Division of labor in food preparations
Food preparation is time-intensive and labor-intensive. So instead of assigning one person to be the sole homemaker and cook for the whole family, everybody pitches in. This allows the growth of a healthy food culture that can be passed down to future generations, healthy social bonding to evolve out of spending time with family or friends, and the awareness of the origins of food. Everybody has to do some work to get food, because raw food may not be wholly digestible or palatable. For other animals, they have to catch prey or seek familiar vegetation. For humans, they have to exchange their hard work for money, which is traded for food at big supermarkets that have devious ways to lure impulse purchases. The food may be readily prepared by someone else, but if the food is purchased raw and in bulk, it may be cheaper in value due to a quantity discount. Then at home, heat is applied to the food's chemical structure and makes the food more digestible for human stomachs. For example, humans can't eat bone, but cooking breaks down bone to make it more chewable, so humans can extract the energy-rich, fatty bone marrow.