Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Call it the McVictim syndrome.

Too many pundits, public health experts and politicians are working overtime to find scapegoats for America's obesity epidemic.

The real answer, of course, is too many happy meals.

In his latest book, former FDA Commissioner David A. Kessler argues that modern food is addictive. In it, he recounts how he was once helpless to stop himself from eating a cookie.

Are you kidding me? Could you be any less of a wuss? Man up, David!

In a paper in this month's Journal of Health Economics, University of Illinois researchers join a long list of analysts who blame urban sprawl for obesity.

How long before we're told that the devil made us eat it?

Personally, I blame the Liberals.

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.

Which is one of America's problems-our government has grown out of control because the average citizen is all too eager to let Washington think for them. As long as they can stimulate their minds with programs like "Dancing With The Survivors" and "American Wife-Swapping Bachelor Idols" they are content to let the Council on Foreign Relations tell them what to think, what to believe, when to wear a seat belt, and when to wipe their children's behinds.

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.

Obesity is preventable, but its consequences seem difficult to avoid.

Consider that the cost of treating resulting conditions such as diabetes is about 7% of all U.S. healthcare spending — and a significant drain on federal and state budgets. Obesity is a national security threat because it severely limits the pool of military recruits; in 2009, the Pentagon indicated that since 2005, 48,000 potential troops had flunked their basic physical exams because they weighed too much.

Most important, obesity is a human threat, destroying otherwise healthy lives and increasing personal health costs, all for the sake of a few daily moments of instant gratification.

For these reasons, there is a role for government to play in attacking obesity.

Stop sponsoring school lunch programs that push our children toward obesity at taxpayers' expense.

Stop subsidizing businesses that use taxpayer dollars to produce and market unhealthful foods. In fact, stop subsidizing business.

Promote insurance reforms that support preventive medicine.

First and most important, we MUST eradicate the philosophy behind the McVictim syndrome.

Americans must accept the fact that a poor diet is almost always a poor personal choice.

Encouraging Americans to cut their dietary health risks is a responsible act of citizenship.

It's absurd to pretend that Americans are helpless to make that choice.

The McVictim syndrome is far too prevalent, which promotes the notion that regulations and laws are the primary solution to the problem.

Hey America-do you want the federal government to micromanage your waistline for you?

How about this? Walk to work and don't order a second piece of pie.

If Americans would just wise-up, and realize that it's all about the calories YOU consume. I have a lot more waist than I did twenty years ago, but no one put a gun to my head and said "Eat cheese steaks." I made that choice.

Also, Americans need to get smart about advertising. Stop eating 100-calorie Twinkies and thinking it's a miracle food.

Here's the miracle: IT'S SMALLER.

Here's how to make the miracle yourself: CUT A REGULAR TWINKIE IN HALF

Here's how to make it healthy: THROW IT AWAY AND EAT AN APPLE

Link to the full article...

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