Supersize Me

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“I read the news today, Oh boy…”  Thanks, John Lennon.

Actually, I read the news on June 15th, that being in USA Today.  The article was: “Panel: Obesity is century’s greatest public health threat.”

Dang. That sounds serious.

I post this following my last topic, “plane stupid,” to continue the theme of lost individual freedoms against an increasingly empowered State, couched in language that it’s for our own good.

I won’t argue that Americans are fat.  Look in your local school, at the mall, or, most painfully, at the neighborhood swimming pool.  I consider myself in decent physical condition, but by the textbook definition, I’m borderline obese for my height and gender.

Who’s responsible for this?  Just ask Michael Moore.  It’s McDonald’s.  And government just can’t wait to help us Teenie Beanie Babiesprevent adding another generation to the billions and billions served.  In Santa Clara County, California, they’ve banned kids’ meals with toys.  No, not because of a choking hazard,  but rather because the presence of toys encourages kids, and therefore their parents, to eat (all that unhealthy yummy stuff) at McDonald’s!  As a former Teenie Beanie Baby enabler, I know this motivation to be true. Freakies toys But, that doesn’t make it wrong.  (It didn’t take McDonald’s to teach me this.  The entire point of going to the grocery store as a kid was to choose the cereal that had the best toy, lest my mom choose a healthy cereal with a coupon on the back.  Oh, the excitement… and Freakies for the win!)

The Panel’s recommendations?  Let’s see. 

  • Move to a plant based diet (I’m all for that.  A veggie still leaves plenty of room on the plate for good food.)
  • Significantly reduce salts and solid fats (but… my McDonald’s fries!)
  • Exercise (I walk twice a day, from my car to the office and, later, all the way back).  yada yada yada. 

The message hasn’t changed much over all these years, and neither have the results.  We eat what we 1) like the most that we 2) can afford.

What will change is that as we move to a stand alone national health care plan (give it time), the dietary habits of the populace will relate far more directly to “controllable costs” of an expanding healthcare budget than a pro-rata share of aviation fuel will relate to an (infinitesimal) increase of global carbon dioxide emissions (see previous post).  As we’ll soon have our body mass index (BMI) tracked by the government, one wonders if this will later play a role in who gets a transplant and who doesn’t.

For those with customer loyalty cards at their local grocery, our shopping hazards are already being tracked.  Again, it’s not hard to imagine Big Brother using the same information not just to track but to limit your purchases of say, Coca-Cola, during a 30 day period.  Is this really far fetched?  It may seem that way, but when the government is faced with uncontrolled entitlement spending, one means of limiting costs is by reducing individual freedom to choose one’s diet in order to prevent obesity or other diseases resulting from poor dietary habits.

In short, the State becomes very much a partner of what and how much and how often we can eat, and increased governmental supervision of our diets is really the only means that studies such as this one will eventually, um, gain weight.

Note: I like McDonald’s.  I mention them only because they’ve been targeted due to being our most recognizable fast food chain, and therefore the most demonized by people who know what’s good for you better than you.

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