Today’s headlines are hard to miss: “Child obesity rate in U.S. hits a plateau,” “Childhood obesity rates high, but leveling off,” “Childhood obesity rates stabilize,” and more of the same. This media buzz surrounds a newly released study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, published in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association. The agency’s latest research demonstrates that childhood obesity rates haven’t increased since 1999.
These findings fly in the face of almost a decade of threats by obesity activists. U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona called childhood obesity “the terrorist threat from within.” Obesity scaremongers David Ludwig and S. Jay Olshansky forecasted “a two- to five-year drop in life expectancy unless aggressive action manages to reverse obesity rates.” Even former president Bill Clinton got in on the action, warning that supposedly escalating rates of childhood obesity would trigger “a calamitous crisis in health.”
But apocalyptic (and bogus) statistics of “skyrocketing” rates of obesity among our kids have only served to justify increasingly intrusive government regulations sought by activist groups and overeager health officials. Today’s JAMA study should quiet those shrill (and unfounded) claims.
These findings clearly demonstrate that it doesn’t take obtrusive government policies to curb children’s weight. Instead, parents, schools, business, and others in our communities have taken it upon themselves to make sure kids get enough physical activity and eat a balanced diet.
This is a big win for personal and parental responsibility. But that’s not how the food cops are spinning it. Ludwig, who wrote an editorial accompanying the JAMA study, is arguing that these results prove the need for a national war on fat (aka more bureaucratic intervention). It seems that no matter the news — good or bad — activists will leverage it as an excuse to meddle in our lives.