August 19, 2003

Food Fight


The Washington Post recently ran an article by Ceci Connolly (Public Policy Targeting Obesity) about the effort to politicize obesity.

[I]n New York state, Assemblyman Felix Ortiz (D) has proposed six anti-obesity bills, including one that would tax not only fatty foods, but also modern icons of sedentary living -- movie tickets, video games and DVD rentals -- and use the resulting $50 million for nutrition and exercise programs.

Next thing you know they'll be wanting to tax naps. There was at least one sensible voice:

"It's something of a free-for-all," said Richard Berman, executive director of the Center for Consumer Freedom, an advocacy group underwritten largely by foodmakers. To counter the trend, conservative leaders and the food industry have developed bills that would insulate restaurants from lawsuits that attempt to hold food purveyors responsible for the negative health effects of obesity.

"It's an individual responsibility issue," Berman said. "If I'm going to shorten my own life by eating too much or being too sedentary, that may not be much different than shortening my life by riding a motorcycle without a helmet on."

The Onion saw this coming in August 2000: Hershey's Ordered Pay Obese Americans $135 Billion.

"This is a vindication for myself and all chocolate victims," said Beaumont, TX, resident Earl Hoffler, holding a picture of his wife Emily, who in 1998 succumbed to obesity after nearly 40 years of chocoholism.

Posted by Forkum at August 19, 2003 07:47 AM