In this morning’s San Francisco Chronicle, a statement made by Mayor Gavin Newsom exposed the most troublesome misconception spread by obesity campaigns: “Our fast-food culture is the primary contributor to the health care costs in this country.” Though Newsom’s dramatic declaration is an increasingly publicized belief, it’s unfounded. It’s false. But as we’ve witnessed in the past, faulty statistics do little to stop activist groups from pushing for over-the-top public health measures. And the weekend’s news highlights suggest we can expect more of the same:
An opinion piece in today’s Newsday argues that the solution to obesity lies in urging schools to grade health in the same way they grade other subjects like math and literature. Think about it. That means the contents of your lunch box could impact your GPA.
In Los Angeles, a proposed moratorium on new fast food restaurants has recently resurfaced, and the City Council is scheduled to discuss the measure in July and vote on it by August. The ordinance would selectively ban chain restaurants, forbidding some entrepreneurs from opening shop while permitting those (subjectively) deemed “higher-quality” to work where they please.
Though advocates of these Big Brother policies continue to espouse the idea that tasty food is the scourge of humanity, more and more experts in the medical community are singing a different tune. At Canada’s medical conference last week, notable psychiatrist Dr. Leora Pinhas cautioned her colleagues that constant obesity hype actually fuels a more dangerous malady — eating disorders:
Dieting is the gateway to eating disorders. If you have people encouraged to diet because being fat is so bad, you’re only giving them an intervention that will make them fat, or give them an eating disorder or make them feel bad about themselves.
And it’s not our lawmakers’ job to make us feel bad about ourselves.