Monday, February 01, 2010

Food Police and the Obese

I recently watched John Stossel's program on food police and found it both informative and infuriating.  I'm sure Mr. Stossel would be thrilled to hear that. 

I don't remember the name of the lady guest so I'll just call her Ms. Food Police.  She kept saying she didn't want to restrict our freedoms but didn't think it wrong to dictate where and when goodies should be sold.  Nine out of ten ppl are obese because of life choices and therefore the government has to limit those choices.  To her, limited freedom was just as good as real freedom.   For example, she said that Girl Scouts and clubs shouldn't be able to sell cookies anywhere but in the grocery store.  She also agreed that BMI is just a starter for measuring actually obesity but then is also willing to make statements about the number of obese which are most likely based on general population BMI scores.  I felt she was full of double speak.

There was also a Mr. Food Police, a lawyer advocating for food warnings on fast food was also a featured speaker.  I found his proposal ridiculous, especially in light of the New York experiment.  Mayor Bloomberg ordered calorie information be put on menus to enlighten his fellow citizens as to how bad their eating habits were.  Unfortunately, the ignorant masses continued to eat the large restaurant portions.  Mr. Food Police really got my goat though when he insulted the next guest, Mr. Statitician, for not being a doctor.  How dare he talk about health science yet not have a doctorate!  Wait, isn't that what he is doing?  I hate hypocrites.

Mike Huckabee was also on as a guest since, as governor of Arkasas, he signed a bill authorizing the schools to weigh kids, calculate BMI, and send a letter home to parents with the information.  Mr. Huckabee wasn't that great at defending his policy though.  He stated that the state had an interest in keeping people healthy because it was going to have to pay for any health problems down the road anyway.  Though the statement is true, he didn't elaborate further to distinguish why this justification was okay in this instance, but not for the many times Food Police try to use this reason, money, to take away our freedoms.  Is weighing children an interference?  I would say no for two main reasons.  First, as Mr. Huckabee did note, the schools had traditionally take height and weight measures of the kids anyway.  Second, I would suggest that this is not intereference by the state, it's merely a public service.  The state spends funds telling you to buckle up, watch for ice on bridges, not to litter, and not to shake babies as a public service announcement.  The weight and BMI info is a public service announcement on a personal level.  I would say it only becomes interference from the government when it causes changes in your life.  Now if the school also sends home a letter saying their putting your kid on a special diet or exercise program, then that becomes interference.

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