A British public health “expert” is lobbying Parliament to force the food industry to cover “fatty” items in cigarette-style warning labels. As recent events suggest, health officials are obsessed with our weight and, consequently, our diets too. But these food-focused policies miss their main objective—health. As a study this week in the Archives of Internal Medicine shows, it’s fitness (not fatness) that determines our well being:
"A considerable proportion of overweight and obese U.S. adults are metabolically healthy, whereas a considerable proportion of normal-weight adults express a clustering of cardiometabolic abnormalities."
This research adds to the wealth of evidence demonstrating that sedentary lifestyles clearly play a role in our health and longevity. On the other hand, weight’s impact on disease and death isn’t nearly as clear. On Monday, Judith Wylie-Rosett of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York explained to Reuters: “We really don’t know as much about obesity as we think we do.” This absence of scientific certainty, however, doesn’t seem to hinder health officials in their relentless attempts to legislate away our waistlines.
In fact, the pace of government regulation on food is accelerating at an alarming and unprecedented rate. The Associated Press reports that “governments of all levels are increasingly viewing menus as a matter of public health.” If that trend continues, common sense and individual rights will increasingly take a back seat to half-baked schemes and prohibitions.