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  • Perfect Example

    Posted by James R. Rummel on August 23rd, 2005 (All posts by )

    There has been a great deal of ink spilled in recent years in an attempt to define the differences between Democrats and Republicans. This news item sums it up in a nutshell.

    The subject is a report by an advocacy group named Trust for America’s Health which says that obesity rates rose in every state except Oregon. The group then goes on to advocate increased government action in order to promote a healthier lifestyle.

    Since this item is carried on the Associated Press wire, one would expect it to stop there. But the author, Kevin Freking, makes an admirable attempt at balance. He quotes a spokesman from The Cato Institute who says that it’s pretty much an individual’s responsibility so far as diet and lifestyle is concerned.

    I’m a fellow with a big ol’ gut and I still don’t want the government to offer me anything extra because of it even though I’d be first in line to realize any benefits. I don’t know if that opinion would lead people to think of me as a Libertarian, a Neo-Conservative or a plain old Realist. Personally, I just think that I’m a grouchy old fart.

     

    9 Responses to “Perfect Example”

    1. Richard Saunders Says:

      We should reform public healthcare providers (ie Medicare and Medicaid) so that they do not cover obesity related treatment. If you ate too much then you have to pay for it. This way the government will have no incentive to address the Obesity problem, as it should be.

    2. Cafe Oregano Says:

      Wednesday Specials

      James at Chicago Boyz considers obesity rates. Patterico recounts the recount. Mr. Right rewrites Monty Python. P’nut is a gruntled employee. basil interviews the famous, albeit one-sided….

    3. Kevin F Says:

      You are correct that this encapsulates the difference detween the right and the left.

      If an individual is not reponsible for what they put in their own mouths, then the state is no different than a parent. Parents similarly hover over infants and toddlers, keeping unsafe items out of their mouths, and choosing their food for them.

      In the UK, for example, the annual cost to the NHS of diet-related diseases is estimated in excess of £15 billion, and therefore “eventually, the UK will not be able to afford the health care made necessary by inappropriate lifestyles and diet .” Thus there is a proposal for a “national nutrition strategy”, including an independent agency with regulatory powers. Quite beyond simple nutrition education, such a national approach would also consider a “fat tax” or imposing legislation on the food industry to achieve the desired product development, marketing and pricing goals. This might include “using government purchasing power to expand the market for fresh healthy foods while counteracting the current subsidies supporting the ingredients in high fat/sugar/salt products,” and placing restrictions on “the marketing of junk food to children.”

      Television shows and Internet sites, they argue, should be altered “to ensure the support of active, healthy lifestyles”. Further, expansion of government control over “transport and rural development policies” was also recommended in order to increase the level of physical activity.

      In their eyes, we are nothing but infants.

    4. Don Says:

      A little reality check. What is the life expectancy?
      Pulling out my little o’Almanac the Census data seems to indicate a continue extension every ten years. Why are so many people now living longer [cause if they weren’t we wouldn’t have problems with Social Security] with all this bad food around? Given that in 1997 the government bureaucrats changed the height and weight tables automatically moving nearly a third of the American population into the overweight classification [to include people like Michael Jordan at his prime], are we dealing with a self created problem? Just recently reports emerged that indicate that people in the slightly overweight category were more healthy than those in the healthy zone, reinforcing the pre-1997 table. IIRC the pre-1997 tables were largely driven by insurance company data gathered over generations. I wonder how many data collection points the 1997 table was drawn upon.
      Darwinism at work. Unlike any other historical period in time, not only is food abundant for large numbers of people, but it is also readily available, 365 days a year. The annual cycle of food availability and the usual historical cycle of feast and famine have been broken. As Darwin would point out, the environment has changed. This is relatively new. So how can ‘scientific’ determinations be made rather than ‘opinion’? Ah, the faint intolerance of the deadly sin of gluttony.

    5. Kevin F Says:

      Don is correct. In fact, data regarding those over 65 indicate a longevity advantage for those who are slightly overweight. That is, skinnier old people don’t live as long as those with a little extra fat. (Fat likely provides a reserve during illness unavailable to the thin.)

    6. Sandy P Says:

      As someone told my husband and me in the Caymans, “you need a proper shed for your tools.”

    7. Kevin F Says:

      And be forewarned: obesity may be a disease, but don’t tell the patient, or she might report you to the State Medical Board.

    8. Tyouth Says:

      Re. “skinnier old people don’t live as long”

      I don’t know, but I wonder if that still applies if the folks who are wasting away shortly before death are factored out.

    9. Kevin F Says:

      Re; I wonder if that still applies if the folks who are wasting away shortly before death are factored out
      Actually, it does; terminal illness was excluded from these data.