Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Obesity Messiahs

When he is not attending the International Congress on Obesity, Paul Zimmet is ganging up with and engaging in acts of discrimination with Philip James, chairman of the International Obesity Taskforce.

From the Australian, HT Karen De Coster:

The chairman of the International Obesity Taskforce, Philip James, and Australian diabetes expert Paul Zimmet made a joint call for intervention last month, urging a ban on all marketing of food to children, strict food and physical activity requirements in schools and the adjustment of "fiscal policies" to increase the price of sugary and fatty foods relative to healthier alternatives.
This is wrong because it hurts the poor. Their welfare allowance is barely sufficient to enable them to purchase three meals a day at the local 7-11. Take away their doritos and hot dogs and the impoverished will perish!
TAXING unhealthy foods in a bid to put the brakes on the obesity epidemic would be ineffective, inefficient and unfair to the poor.

Access Economics health expert Lynne Pezzullo said the growing clamour from health experts for a so-called "fat tax" was misguided and would hurt the poor much more than it would hurt the rich.

Low-income people who were not obese would suffer unduly as a result, she told an international obesity conference in Sydney.

[..] She argued that taxes and regulation, such as advertising or marketing bans, qualified as a "heavy hand" and were unnecessary.

She said lighter intervention - such as partnerships with the private sector to encourage healthier products, and subsidies - might be warranted.

However, she said subsidies were best used to support after-school physical activity programs and other things shown to be cost-effective.

The only circumstances where food subsidies might be warranted was in small rural areas where healthy food was significantly more expensive, she said.
From the government's perspective, it is more "cost-effective" to increase taxes on shit that people actually want, while at the same time forcing taxpayers to subsidize tofu and granola consumption. And if the sugar farmers suffer from the increased taxes on sugary food, they too will be eligible for subsidies, just like the tobacco farmers. As for "after-school physical" activity, why not just devote even more of the school day to jumping-jacks? So long as the marginalized minority is the minority, they are entitled to more rights than the majority.

And now for some common sense. Karen De Coster:
Apparently, the Lifestyle Planners can tax and/or regulate away bad foods, yet the alternative for those who choose to eat themselves into obesity is to eat more of the available or non-regulated foods. Duh. In fact, portion size contributes to obesity far more than does one's choice of foods. So what is the government's back-up plan? An Overeating Taskforce? Or the Calorie Counter Cops? Surely, considering that fettucini alfredo - and almost any Italian dish served up in a restaurant - is weightgainer food, shouldn't they ban Italian restaurants? And how about all the low-fat (Healthy Choice) frozen dinners that are nothing but empty calories and have more carbs (sugars) than a can of coke? Junk food or not? In fact, how is "junk food" defined? Having the obese hand of government reaching into your cupboards at the command of "expert planners" is coming soon to a theatre near you.
I am in the process of patenting a previous final solution to the problem of excessive consumption of food as determined by the guards of the public trough:
Government issued refrigerators with a scale attached. The occupant of the complex must step on the scale in order to receive their daily ration of food. If the citizen weighs in over the government decreed maximum healthy weight, the fridge remains sealed and the unhappy obese person is deprived of their ration until such time as they weigh in at a socially acceptable weight.
I've since revised my plan to deal with all cupboards containing edibles. Cameras will also be installed in all homes to ensure that skinny citizens do not unfairly steal food to distribute to the hungry.

I continue to share tofu with Dust my Broom