Monday, September 17, 2007

Fat Fatty Fat Fat

Having to listen to Kelly Brownell, the director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University, discuss the obesity crisis is a bit like having to listen to a model discuss the problems of eating disorders. (He's sort of a big fatty, and yeah, I'll call him a big fatty. He's the one who wants being a big fatty to be a matter of public concern.) And yet here's Brownell in the news again, in a local paper story that blames obesity on bad public policy.

Brownell correctly points out the problem of agricultural subsidies. These subsidies do have the effect of making certain foods more inexpensive than others, but the real issue is that our system of food production and distribution is so efficient that we don't need to put taxpayer money into the pockets of successful agribusinesses.

I suppose one can have a reasonable debate about food policy, but rather than getting too deep into that debate here, I just wanted to point out the title and thrust of the Hartford Courant article I've linked to- and that is that is, bad public policy is responsible for the growing obesity epidemic.

Now think about that for a minute- do you really think the American appetite for larger portions and all-you-can eat has really been fueled by government policy? And perhaps more importantly, do you really think that are increasingly sedentary lifestyles has been fueled by government rather than wealth, technological innovations, and social factors?

Personally, I think the obesity epidemic is overblown, but regardless of your views on the need for government to address obesity, isn't it just a little more than off the wall to say the government is responsible for us being fatty fats in the first place?


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