Obesity and paternalistic interventions: where does the moral responsibility lie?
University of Wales Institute Cardiff
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One of the biggest threats to the nation’s health is arguably obesity. Numerous health risks are associated with obesity and these are well documented. The main concern is for the individuals own health, although there is also a great financial burden. In this dissertation I will argue that obese individuals are acting irrationally and irresponsibly whilst pursuing an unhealthy lifestyle. I also argue that parents who fail to provide their children with the means of a healthy lifestyle are acting irrationally and irresponsibly. In light of neglecting ones duty of care I argue that the state has a responsibility to perform paternalistic interventions. As J.S. Mill agued, the restriction of liberty is only justified if it prevents harms to others. In the case of obesity I argue that society is duly harmed by the financial burden it has upon the National Healthcare System and businesses alike. Consequently paternalistic interventions are just in order to care, educate and curtail the freedom and liberty of those individuals who are acting irrationally and irresponsibly.