Thursday 1 December 2011

"Regulate Junk Food As A Pollutant"

It's been mooted before here that Harvard occasionally get all righteous about food and drink, and blow me if they haven't been doing it again.

Health Experts: Regulate Junk Food as a Pollutant
M'kaaay. Not quite the measured response we'd expect from an intellectual institution, but let's see where it goes.

The U.S. government should deal with unhealthy ingredients in food the same way it deals with pollution: with cap and trade, a suggestion published Thursday in The New England Journal of Medicine.
The very same 'expert' journal which published Jill Pell's Scottish heart miracle nonsense, you mean? Oh I see, I think we understand better now.

In the imagined cap and trade policy, companies could manufacture products above a government-capped level of sugar and fat, but would be taxed for the additional unhealthiness at a cost passed on to the consumer.

The idea of government trying to regulate what people eat to improve public health, increase productivity, and reduce health care costs is not that farfetched. Denmark made headlines after implementing a "fat tax," adding a premium to things like sugary soda.
Err, they made headlines precisely because it is that far-fetched. And fundamentally wrong to boot. I'd have thought people living in the (cough) Land of the Free would recognise that.

Kristina Lewis, a doctor at Harvard Medical School's Department of Population, co-author of the report, recognizes that establishing such a policy would be an uphill battle. But she also believes something has to be done ...
Yes, she did say that. This is not satire.

... in the realm of public policy, because she said encouraging people to change their behavior is not enough.
Forgive me for offering a different viewpoint, but I'd say that not only is encouragement definitely enough, anything more is none of their fucking business, quite frankly.

Fortunately, there are still a dwindling number of health professionals who don't seem to have entirely given up on common sense and reason.

[...] health secretary Andrew Lansley launched a new goal to bring down England's obesity levels by 2020. He said Britons should be eating five billion fewer calories a day and urged people to be honest with themselves about what they eat and drink. The government has also been calling for 'fat' taxes on unhealthy food and a ban on advertisements aimed at children.

[Elaine George, specialist bariatric nurse at BMI The Clementine Churchill Hospital] is very against this idea: "I don't think that's a solution, I really don't. It's ostracising people. I do believe that the fast food chains shouldn't be as unhealthy, there should be more healthier options or just take them away. I don't think making things more expensive is going to change anything. I think education is key from an early age. Teaching them good habits and how to cook. There's a lot to be said for education rather than just penalising people."
I fear for the career of Elaine George, however bloody perfect her argument and understanding of the human condition is. She seems blissfully unaware of the modern denormalisation agenda surrounding lifestyle choices.

A heretic burning beckons.


Anonymous said...

“He said Britons should be eating five billion fewer calories a day”

What, each?? Crumbs, I know I'm a greedy pig, but I didn't realise I was consuming that much ... ;)

Anonymous said...

(a) Land of the Free. Americans are perfectly at liberty to have hectoring, single-issue fanatics circumscribing every slightly-pleasurable activity if that is what they want. Since they are not rising up in their millions and ripping out throats, being regulated to death is, presumably, exactly what they want.
(b) Scientific and medical institutions and journals. like all other human constucts, it doesn't matter a damn what they were originally set up to do. Five minutes after incorporation, their sole objective is to survive. Whatever the price. Like others, the NEJM, has seen which way the wind is blowing and doing what it needs to survive. For the time-being, the best that freedom-loving folk can do is fart into the wind, rather than with it.
(c) Elaine George. Dangerous, reactionary dinosaur. Makes Jeremy Clarkson look like a lame gerbil. Should have retired years ago. Is dragging the good name of the Clementine Churchill Hospital into disrepute. And will be the cause of millions of premature deaths in our children, who are all way, way too fat.
(d) Etc., etc., and ...
(e) By gum.

Dick Puddlecote said...

Good points, well made, Edgar. ;)

Anonymous said...

If Andrew Lansley can't persuade Teresa May, Eric Pickles, Danny Alexander, Lord Strathclyde or Ken Clarke or the increasingly rotund Cameron to lose weight what possible chance does he have with anyone else?

Anonymous said...

I fail to see how "increase productivity" is a medical responsibility. Further, it seems the last thing we should want so long as people are unwillingly unemployed.

—GAinNY (in the Land of the Free—I quite like that!)