A conservative commentator on cultural issues says the government perceives obesity as a problem — and therefore feels compelled to inject itself into the debate.
A new study led by researchers from Duke University says 42 percent of Americans will be obese in 2030 — an increase from about 36 percent, a level that has held relatively steady in recent years.
So why should the government bother spending money, making regulations, and issuing guidelines if Americans are only going to be bigger? Julie Gunlock, senior fellow and director of the Women for Food Freedom project at the Independent Women's Forum, says it is typical for Washington to shove more money at what it perceives to be a problem.
"The government has been on a crusade to lower the obesity rate for over ten years — even longer," she points out. "In 1960, John F. Kennedy wrote a piece for Sports Illustrated called 'The Soft American,' where he complained that Americans weren't keeping up with our contemporaries over in Russia and that this is a national security concern."
Similar arguments are made in the new HBO documentaryWeight of the Nation, which premiered earlier this week. One expert says: "Obesity is the biggest threat to the health, welfare and future of the country." Meanwhile, a young lady featured in the documentary says: "You don't crave broccoli, and our generation has grown up craving a Big Mac." (See earlier article)
Even so, Gunlock says that is a matter for parents to decide. "You've got the government running, saying It's sodas, it's fast food, it's the lack of good school lunches, it's not enough P.E.," she says. "There are a million excuses, but no one wants to talk about the parents — and that's because it's political suicide if you go out there and say, Hey, parents, you need to step it up."
Gunlock recommends setting limits, introducing vegetables, and teaching children that portion control is health control.