This week brought an unusually high dose of food fascism and nutrition nannying. But it also gave us the sort of rare op-ed that had us nodding our heads in emphatic agreement. Writing in the Los Angeles Times, physician and Manhattan Institute Senior Fellow David Gratzer takes on what he calls "McVictim syndrome":
The McVictim syndrome spins a convenient — and unhealthy — narrative on America's emerging preventable disease crisis. McVictimization teaches Americans to think that obesity is someone else's fault — and therefore, someone else's problem to solve.
The truth: In the vast majority of cases, obesity is a preventable condition. So those of us in the medical community must be candid with overweight patients about the risks they face and the rewards of better health choices. But it's also time for American policymakers to show the same level of candor.
All things being equal, the simplest explanation is often the right one. And the simplest explanation for the dramatic rise in obesity rates — roughly doubling as a percentage of the total population in just a quarter-century — is the surge in our daily caloric intake. Excess food now, excess weight later. And Americans won't make better choices if the McVictim syndrome provides a convenient excuse to carry on as before.
He's right, and it drives us crazy. Every time a food cop claims consumers are helpless victims of their “food environment” (or anything else), it fuels this sort of victimization narrative. Hopefully more physicians in the public health community who think like Gratzer will start airing their thoughts—and personal responsibility will make a delicious return to our diets.