30th August 2007

Nominations Open for our First Obesity Czar

Weight ScaleThere’s talk now of appointing an Obesity Czar, who’s responsibilities would include developing a National Strategy to Fight Fat, which is desperately needed according to the 2007 report from the Trust for America’s Health.

This issue is stirring up a lot of controversy, but what caught my eye is the quote from Justin Wilson, a senior analyst from The Center for Consumer Freedom (a food industry trade group), who says “Obesity is a private issue and we do not need Big Brother wagging his finger at us every time somebody wants to eat a doughnut,” …”If someone wants to be a little heavier because they enjoy eating food that tastes good, that’s a person’s personal right.”……..wait, did he just say “a little heavier”……perhaps he doesn’t understand the definition of obese.

What Mr. Wilson is overlooking is the fact that obesity doesn’t just effect the person who is obese, but effects ALL of us. A Duke University study reports that obese workers average 21% higher health care costs, which effects employers and their ability to offer affordable coverage for all their employees. Insurance rates go up across the board for groups and individuals, while health care cost rise because insurance doesn’t cover 100%, so health care professionals need to make up the difference elsewhere. The uninsured/under-insured obese person taxes the system even more. And that’s just one example of how obesity can effect all of us.

I’m in favor of an Obesity Czar. And I think the first thing he or she should focus on is our oddly ironic priorities when it comes to what we regulate and what we don’t.

We already know that obesity and diabetes are reaching epidemic proportions and is one of the fastest-growing health problems our nation faces, among both adults and children. Yet we tell our kids that they cannot (legally) smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol (which is a Good Thing), but that it’s okay to go ahead and drink all the soda pop and eat all the sugary snacks they want to? The soft drinks and high-sugar, high-fat snacks sold in schools all over our country offer our kids NO nutritional benefit, and in fact are responsible for a number of poor health issues, but we think that’s okay?

The report by The Trust for America’s Health has a number of great suggestions – everyone should read it. And for our first Obesity Czar, I’d like to nominate Andrew Weil, M.D. All in favor?

Do we really need an Obesity Czar?

  • Yes – We need someone who is focused on this issue (71%, 5 Votes)
  • No – It’s everyone’s right to be obese if they want to be (29%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 7


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