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Posts Tagged ‘obesity’

We bring you, courtesy the great guys at CCF, the following awesome analysis:

Also read: Your health is my business. And please do not point out that what works for Olympic athletes will turn an average person into a hippo.

(Hat Tip: Reason Hit and Run)

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This one is by former U.S. surgeon general Richard Carmona:

As we look to the future and where childhood obesity will be in 20 years … it is every bit as threatening to us as is the terrorist threat we face today. It is the terrorist threat from within.

Kerry Howley’s reaction to the above is funny:

I’m not sure whether we should be more or less afraid of the “War on Terror” now that the phrase terrorist threat means “bad thing.”

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I had written earlier about the Japanese government acting as health police to force its citizens to slim down. Here’s a CNN video on the matter.

One thing struck me after watching the video — not many people seem that unhappy at what I would consider an outrageous interference into one’s private matters. Well, if they have that attitude, I guess they deserve to have a nanny-state government. One thing’s for sure, I am not moving to Japan.

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One of the dangers of publicly funded healthcare is that it increases the likelihood of the government micromanaging your health and other private affairs. Jacob Sullum wrote an excellent article in Reason last year about the totalitarian implications of public health. The Japanese government is the latest to prove him right.

Under a national law that came into effect two months ago, companies and local governments must now measure the waistlines of Japanese people between the ages of 40 and 74 as part of their annual checkups. That represents more than 56 million waistlines, or about 44 percent of the entire population.  

Those exceeding government limits – 33.5 inches for men and 35.4 inches for women – and having a weight-related ailment will be given dieting guidance if after three months they do not lose weight. If necessary, those people will be steered toward further re-education after six more months.  

Here is the link to the above article.

And while you are at it, do read Sullum’s article from last year. It is full of truths that are obvious but often not recognized by those in power.

Maximizing health is not the same as maximizing happiness. The public health mission to minimize morbidity and mortality leaves no room for the possibility that someone might accept a shorter life span, or an increased risk of disease or injury, in exchange for more pleasure or less discomfort. Motorcyclists, rock climbers, and sky divers make that sort of decision all the time, and not all of them are ignorant of the relevant injury and fatality statistics. With lifestyle choices that pose longer-term risks, such as smoking and overeating, the dangers may be easier to ignore, but it is still possible for someone with a certain set of tastes and preferences to say, “Let me enjoy myself now; I’ll take my chances.” The assumption that such tradeoffs are unacceptable is the unspoken moral premise of public health. When the surgeon general declares that “every American needs to eat healthy food in healthy portions and be physically active every day,” where does that leave a guy who prefers to be fat if it means he can eat what he likes and relax in his spare time instead of looking for ways to burn calories?

It’s true that, as the anti-smoking activist William Cahan pointed out on a CNN talk show several years ago, “People who are making decisions for themselves don’t always come up with the right answer.” They don’t necessarily make tradeoffs between health and other values in an informed or carefully considered manner. Sometimes they regret their decisions. But they know their own tastes and preferences, and they have access to myriad pieces of local information about the relevant costs and benefits that no government regulator can possibly know. They will not always make good decisions, but on balance they will make better decisions, as measured by their own subsequent evaluations, than any third party deciding for them. Leaving aside the question of who is better positioned to decide whether a given pleasure is worth the risk associated with it, there is an inherent value to freedom: When it comes to how people feel about their lives, they may well prefer to make their own bad choices rather than have better ones imposed on them.

Indeed.

(Link via Reason Hit and Run)

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In that the addictions produced by both are similar.

I can see the health police salivating at the prospect of using this as a reason to regulate or ban junk food (though to me, it looks like yet another argument for drug legalization).

However, as the author of the linked article says:

Because if we really do crave junk food the way addicts crave drugs, good luck prying those cheeseburgers from our hands.

I am not so sure. The capacity of some people to enforce their standards of correctness on others never ceases to amaze me.

(Link via Andrew Sullivan)

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Because, this study says, Americans stop eating only when the plate is empty (or the TV show is over) while the French stop when they feel full.

(Link via Boing Boing)

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Everyone has a small part of himself that wishes to control the lives of others but only the government has the power to do it legally.

A large Mississippi lawmaker proposed a bill that would ban restaurants from serving obese customers. Thankfully no one, including the lawmaker, expects the bill to pass.

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