Thursday, January 10, 2013

What else can we pin on government?

Here's food for thought. The Freeman claims government has made Americans fatter through pushing bad diet advice and being captured by food lobbyists. Summarised by NCPA:

The government, with its accomplices in the food lobby, has helped to make and keep us fat. Through subsidies and misguided food suggestions, Congress, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have made it more difficult for Americans to make smarter dietary decisions, says Jenna Robinson, director of outreach at the Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.
  • Americans spend $33 billion on weight loss products and services.
  • Sixty-five percent of adults are overweight.
  • The prevalence of obesity increased from 14.5 percent in 1980 to 30.5 percent today.
One reason for why this is the case is that the government spreads misinformation about healthy eating. For example, in 1982 the government told Americans to reduce fat consumption from 40 percent to 30 percent of daily intake, according to the food pyramid. However, this resulted in Americans eating more carbohydrates, which have contributed to the increase in obesity rates.

Surely there comes a point when blaming government just becomes as bad as blaming anything else for what is largely a matter of personal responsibility. But...

...ultimately the most significant state contributor to obesity is public health. If someone else is going to pay for the consequences of your over-eating and under-exercising, that's one big disincentive out the window.


Anonymous said...

The government ignores the addictive qualities of sugar, additives such as aspartame and HFCS, and that wheat is a highly addictive substance that causes people to eat more [ref: Wheat Belly, Dr Davis]. Governments constantly misinforming people that all the above are safe to eat are responsible for part of the problem.

Anonymous said...

Most importantly the government directly pays benefits, and indirectly offers tax cuts to the poor (WFF), and salaries to state sector workers - which lets them pay for the sugar in the first place.

The biggest single policy change to stop smoking, drinking & consumption of sweets & soft drinks is to stop paying benefits

James said...

Watch the doco "Fathead" on Youtube.....brilliant.

Anonymous said...

You could well argue that paying producer subsidies for corn, pork, etc etc contributes to false price signals and therefore adds to the obesity problem.