Over the weekend, pseudo health "experts" trumpeted two new sure-fire ways to end obesity: baby formula and lawsuits. Though litigation and breast-milk alternatives may seem unrelated, both "solutions" dismiss the role of personal responsibility in weight-gain by placing the blame exclusively on metabolism and menus.
Sunday’s New York Times reported on the far-fetched notion of an "anti-obesity baby formula." Like a page out of a sci-fi novel, scientists at Britain’s University of Buckingham outlined their efforts to "program babies’ metabolisms to provide permanent resistance to excess pounds." Many health experts express apprehension about permanently altering brain function in infants. But lead researcher Michael Cawthorne pooh-poohed the possibility of unknown consequences:
How is [feeding infants with "anti-obesity" formula] different from giving children vaccinations to prevent infectious disease? Obesity is a disease with life-or-death consequences. We need to do something about it, and it’s pretty obvious that what we’re doing isn’t working.
For those who don’t want to turn their children into diet pill guinea pigs, notorious trial lawyer John Banzhaf offers an (equally outrageous) alternative to fight childhood obesity: lawsuits. Already known for threatening to sue doctors of overweight patients and parents of overweight children — Banzhaf is now bullying restaurants to post warning labels on menus.
Recently he claimed his legal action was the missing piece of the pudge puzzle: "Today the lawsuits aimed at obesity are the major factor in getting these major corporations to change." But this isn’t the first time that his big claims have had little to back them up. (See here, here, and here.)
If Cawthorne and Banzhaf are right, then the next big class-action lawsuit may read something like "La Leche League vs. Fat Babies Everywhere."