Hey there, you might want to put down your Fritos for a second, because this is gross: In 2005, “being obese or overweight caused an estimated 216,000 deaths from heart disease, diabetes and other conditions, researchers estimated, while another 191,000 deaths resulted from being physically inactive.” Do you hear that? If you sit on your couch long enough, you will just spontaneously drop dead. Of course, this is the sort of thing our First Lady Michelle Obama has been trying to prevent from happening, through her dance-a-thons and grocery superstores that apparently aren’t getting built. But the obesity epidemic continues, and the kids just keep getting fatter, no matter how many celebrity endorsements the Let’s Move! campaign receives. “But that isn’t enough, say public health leaders frustrated with the slow progress in stemming America’s obesity epidemic. Something more ambitious is needed, they argue — something more like the anti-tobacco movement.” Cue the terrifying obesity PSAs!
So obesity continues, because of things like free cake, with your fried chicken family dinner. What is a First Lady to do?
“When I look at what’s going on with obesity, it reminds me of what was going on with tobacco in the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s, when there was a lot of emphasis on personal responsibility, voluntary self-regulation, and trying to make safe cigarettes,” said Stanton Glantz, director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California-San Francisco.
That approach didn’t work, and efforts to reduce smoking didn’t really have much success until advocates shifted their emphasis from changing individual behavior to community-based activism and holding cigarette manufacturers accountable for harmful products, Glantz said.
A similar shift is needed today in the fight against America’s expanding waistlines, many experts believe. Instead of approaching obesity as a personal issue, it needs to be redefined as a community challenge that calls for collective action and wide-ranging policy changes such as more informative food labels, limits on marketing to children, and taxes on unhealthy products, they argue.
HA HA NICE TRY. America would just like to continue to kill itself, please, because Freedom. We will just watch our Michelle on the teevee weight loss shows, while we eat our Krispy Kremes. And smoke our cigarettes. [USA Today]