“They want a nation full of thin people who eat salads and drink water.
You know what though? I actually wonder sometimes whether they do (want everyone to be thin, that is). Sure, that’s what they CLAIM to be fighting for. But if they were, surely they’d have more regard for what works (ie leaving people alone and letting them live their lives free from the anxiety generated by heavy-handed attempts to influence the average body size of entire populations)?
As you point out the Government are throwing around huge amounts (our) of money in the form of donations to pressure groups and research grants for obesity researchers. In the last few years a huge, self-sustaining industry has sprung up on the back of this with the purpose of launching obesity campaigns, generating obesity research, writing stories and making TV shows about the obesity epidemic. And as such, if there *were* no obesity epidemic, say, because new research was discovered that dismissed it, or the figures that showed that measured child obesity (for what that’s worth) had stopped rising and that life expectancy was actually increasing proportionally to average BMI were properly publicised and taken seriously, or for that matter, all their miracle interventions worked and fat people were somehow abolished or outlawed (shudder) there would be a heck of a lot of people clearing their desks.
Or perhaps not. A poster on a BBC messageboard I frequent suggested that many of today’s obesity crusaders may possibly have been anti-smoking zealots in a previous incarnation. Most of these public health types believe that the war against smoking is close to being won, with blanket bans in much of Europe and various US cities having had a dramatic effect on the numbers taking up the habit. The number of stories about smokers and smoking has rapidly dropped to the extent that one barely hears it mentioned in the Health sections of newspapers nowadays. Where anti-smoking posters once hung in GP surgeries, now they’re all about BMI, waist measurements and Type II diabetes. And it’s interesting to note how the war on obesity seemed to really get going at around the same time as smoking stopped being regarded as the number one public health issue.
Obesity is even better from Big Nanny’s perspective, because it gives them opportunities for the control of the individual that smoking did not. Did you ever hear of local authority ‘smoking police’ coming into peoples homes and demanding to know whether the parents smoked, or children being removed from homes because either they or their parents smoked? Certainly the groups of 11 and 12 year-olds who used to puff themselves silly outside my secondary school didn’t seem to be living in fear of a knock on the door from the gubmint.
Whilst they’ll all move onto something else eventually (probably alcohol; prohibition will be tried, and fail, all over again – maybe we Brits will even flirt with it this time) in the meantime they’ll be sure to milk this one for all they can, and doing so depends largely on generating as much hysteria as possible through exaggeration, hyperbole, dubious research and statistics coupled with the simultaneous suppression of any research or statistics which undermine their crusade in order to skew or close down the debate.
Trouble is, so far it’s working a treat, and the damage being caused is little short of catastrophic and possibly irreversible.
Richie, you da MAN and your wife is a very lucky woman! 😉
I love it when people get it, you know? They see the writing on the wall, and they know how to logically connect the dots and then predict potential future events using induction alone. Kudos!