International obesity expert Dr. Maurice Larocque told a conference in Dublin this weekend that “much of the obesity epidemic worldwide has been caused by a more sedentary lifestyle.” Surprised? Sounding like she took a chapter straight out of CCF’s “Small Choices, Big Bodies” report, Dr. Larocque continued:
Food is not the problem. If food was the problem, diets would be the answer. Following a diet without a good behaviour modification programme is pointless and a total waste of time and money. I often say it is like taking aspirin for a toothache, you only get short-term results. The treatment of ‘mental weight’ is the core issue.
In light of this revelation, it’s safe to assume that heavy-handed anti-obesity measures that take aim at regulating our diet are way off target. For instance, Concord University Associate Professor Dr. Craig Huddy advocated added taxes at recent health conference, claiming that the best plan “is to tax high fat junk foods and fast foods the same way cigarettes are taxed.”
Economic research has demonstrated that these taxes “would have limited efficacy because peoples’ diets are not very responsive to prices.” One 2005 study calculated that even a 20 percent tax on potato chips would only result in a weight loss of just one-quarter of a pound over a whole year for a potato-chip eater .
You don’t need a Ph.D in economics to know that four ounces is not a lot of fat. Research simply doesn’t support the food-focused approach to weight loss. Physical activity, on the other hand, is both more effective and free. Just by vacuuming for five minutes every day, you can lose almost 3 pounds annually.