People are getting larger–horizontally. In “We need bold action to slow obesity’s march,” Michael Skapinker at Financial Times writes:
Modern life… with its sedentary jobs and ubiquitous food offerings, conspired to make us fat.
People’s behaviors don’t make them large, “modern life” does–through a conspiracy, no less. But Skapinker isn’t the story here. The story is the author of a book called The End of Overeating, a doctor named David Kessler who is also a former head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Kessler claims that obesity isn’t our fault. Instead, the “food companies” who “just experimented until they discovered what we liked most” have actually made us fat. Kessler claims:
Highly hedonic foods do not just appeal to our taste buds. They stimulate a chemical response in the brain… similar to that produced by morphine and heroin.
But wait, maybe the article isn’t about Kessler after all. Skapinker writes:
I am not sure I buy all of this. Heroin addicts will burgle in the search of money for their next fix. There are people who steal to buy food, but that is usually because they are starving, not because they are desperate for a fifth packet of chocolate biscuits. All the same, the compulsive power of much of today’s food to draw us back for seconds is one we can all recognise [sic].
Some will argue that if people are fat, that is no one’s [sic] else’s business. Restricting fatty foods in schools is one thing, but adults should be free to do as they please. Unlike binge drinkers, obese people do not turn city centres [sic] into no-go areas on Saturday nights. Unlike smokers, they do not inflict their carcinogens on anyone else.
But they do suffer from raised rates of strokes, hypertension, high cholesterol and diabetes. They are also, increasingly, bringing up overweight children.
People do need to take responsibility for their own and their families’ eating, but, to do so, they need to know what is in their food.
Oh-oh, we can see where this is heading. Skapinker likes New York City’s law requiring “restaurant chains to list the number of calories in dishes on their menus.” The writer also praises “Obama’s health bill [that] require[s] all US restaurant chains to list [menu items'] calories.” But Skapinker isn’t satisfied. It’s onward to the grocery store. Our hero suggests that America adopt the UK’s system of food purchase “traffic lights,” meaning that we’d see…
…labels showing how much fat, salt and sugar is in each product, with a red circle for “high”, amber for “medium” and green for “low”.
Our health watchdog criticizes the European Union for failing to spread the UK’s traffic system Europe-wide. Because the EU used common sense, finding food “traffic lights” to be…
…“too judgmental”, adding “the complex nutritional composition of a food and its place in the diet cannot be reduced to a simple colour [sic]”…
…Mr. Skapinker engages in infantile mocking of the decision as…
…obfuscation with a dollop of melted cheese on top and a serving of chips on the side.
And then we come to the nanny-state, I-want-to-control-your-life payoff:
If the food industry wants to add details about complex nutritional composition, there is nothing to stop it. In the meantime, traffic lights are pretty helpful to those rushing around snatching food off the shelves so that they can get home to feed their families. Given the extent of the obesity crisis, they look like a proportionate response.
As Yoda would say, “Not surprised, we are.” Progressives want to remove all decision-making responsibility from the individual and hand it over to the state–run by progressives, of course. The exponential rate at which nanny-state legislation is increasing at all levels of government should scare the heck out of the traditional, self-respecting, responsible American. Wither goes the right to decide, so goes control over life itself, and away goes freedom.