Sunday, August 21, 2005

Margarine is good enough for Canadians

The war against obesity rages onward in North America. Jerry Aldini points to an article from a July edition of The Chicago Tribune, posted at The Agitator. Some words from a Chicago-area physician:

As an internist caring for more and more morbidly obese people, I am so tired of reading about the feeble attempts of the government and the food industry to address the epidemic of obesity. The only effective way that we will attack this epidemic is for the surgeon general to mandate that, effective immediately, all portions of food served in restaurants and fast-food places be cut by one-half to two- thirds.

Most Americans need about 2,000-2,400 calories a day. So meals should be portioned to contain no more than one-third of those calories per meal. Currently some sandwiches alone contain 1,000 calories or nearly one-half a day's total caloric needs in one meal--and that's without any soda, fries or salad.

I have been very disappointed in the lack of leadership demonstrated by the current surgeon general. Recent studies show that obesity takes its toll on the health of Americans and the health-care budget similar to the complications of smoking.

[..] I am frustrated by having to spend more and more of my time treating the complications of obesity, such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and early joint breakdowns. Patients are often upset that I target their obesity as the cause of the problem. Overeating is "their right" and I, as their doctor, should fix the problem. Other patients are frustrated by their inability to lose weight and maintain the loss because they live in a virtual candy store. Everyday life in America is just too tempting to adhere to a diet for any length of time.

I implore the surgeon general to demonstrate some leadership and work with the restaurant and fast-food industry to cut portion sizes by one-half to two-thirds in the interest of effectively addressing the obesity epidemic and protecting the health of the American people.

And Publius, on the shrugging doctors in Canada:
It seems that after forty years the doctors of Canada, to borrow Ayn Rand's phrase, are withdrawing the "sanction of the victim." Sadly they are doing so on the worst possible philosophical grounds; altruistic concern for their patients. While doctors putting their patients ahead of themselves may seem part and parcel of being a doctor, such a belief has nearly destroyed efficient and timely medicine in Canada.

For all the highly sophisticated economic criticisms that have been leveled at socialized health care; they pale in comparison to the most powerful tool the defenders of Medicare have at their disposal, morality. Socialized health care, like socialism and communism, soon proved their impracticability. What maintained those poisonous ideologies in the body politic was their claim to moral superiority over capitalism. Communism and socialism sought to establish a selfless society in which the needs of the group would overwhelm those of the individual. That same logic has been applied to Medicare in Canada.