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Monday 17 December 2001

War on Fat

I have been wondering, for the past year or so, when this would happen. The Boston Globe ran an editorial this week on the dangers and causes of obesity. This was inspired by the recent “Call to Action” of the Surgeon General, of course, but the Globe takes it an ominous step further.

In the Globe’s opinion, the problem is not that Americans don’t (or can’t — see my rants elsewhere about this) walk anywhere, or that it’s difficult to eat healthily without cooking everything yourself, or that we have massive government programs to subsidize (and thus make artificially cheap) the production of milk, beef, corn syrup, and a bunch of other things that make us fat. Oh, no. The problem is that children drink too much soda pop. And the Globe isn’t shy about it, either. They say, in part:

Any school superintendent who takes the surgeon general seriously should let their soda contracts expire, then call a van to cart the machines out of the schools. They would be carting off more than an empty vending machine. They just might be hauling off a coffin that thankfully goes unused.

Since obviously someone who does not drink Coke as a child will never die. Or something.

I say that this is ominous for a couple of reasons: First, it invokes the name of Children. When the Globe’s point-of-view takes hold — and it will — supporting Pepsi and Coke’s efforts to make a buck will be seen as equivalent to wanting children dead. And, because the target of this attack is not the bad habits of individuals — nobody’s forced to drink Coke, after all — but a large and wealthy corporation, the mass-tort lawyers will soon be coming out of the woodwork with dollar signs in their eyes.

Soon, fattening foods (and anything will make you fat, if you eat too much of it) will be called “defective products” in class-action suits, much as cigarettes and guns now are. Since being fat appears to increase the stress on all your body’s systems, and since most Americans are fat, almost every non-violent death in the United States can be said to be caused, or at least hastened, by “obesity-related causes” — much as “smoking-related causes” kill many people who are not smokers, and who have never been exposed to large amounts of second-hand smoke (and never mind that the whole second-hand smoke myth has been largely discredited anyway).

So, ten or fifteen years hence, product-liability lawsuits will put Coke, Pepsi, McDonald’s, Burger King, and most of the rest of America’s fattening companies out of business. I suspect that, when that happens, we’ll find that people still die. After eliminating guns, drugs, smoking, drinking, obesity, and trunk entrapment as potential causes of death, what will be next?

Posted by tino at 13:46 17.12.01
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the problem isnt just the soda, its the fast food, computers, computer games, tv, etc…

Posted by: Mr. Jupiter at May 25, 2004 07:32 AM