Battle lines have been drawn in the war against obesity. And stakes for consumers and businesses alike are rising to legendary heights as the two competing sides — fatness vs. fitness — square off. “Team Fat” has demonstrated Goliath-like heft in its ability to push food-focused regulations like “fast food” bans, ingredient regulations, and fat taxes. Margo Wootan, one of the top killjoys at the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), has publicly bragged about this growing legislative trend: “A year ago, no one was doing this. Now we’re seeing it more and more.”
And that’s cause for concern. Today, New York Times health writer Tara Parker-Pope identified significant problems with that current strategy to combat the fat: “Despite concerns about an obesity epidemic, there is growing evidence that our obsession about weight as a primary measure of health may be misguided.” Take, for instance, menu labeling. Food cops advocate mandatory calorie counts on menus on the grounds that information-heavy menus will make for fewer heavy customers. That’s not true, according to recent research. An experimental study of the policy found that the small differences in calories ordered between restaurant customers exposed to menu labels and those not subjected to them “are not statistically significant.” That makes nutrition nannies’ lofty claims little more than hot air.
Fitness may be the underdog in this fight. But it’s the right team to back.