Late last year, the British Parliament proposed constructing “fit towns” to fight obesity by regularly hosting weigh-ins to track local children’s weight and shipping overweight kids off to government-sponsored fat camps. Two months ago Japanese food cops implemented federal limits on waist size with a new law that requires companies and local governments to measure the waistlines of 56 million of Japan’s citizens. Today, Scotland announced its own (food) police state, which will include:
government software into which workers will type their weight every morning;
full-time federal officials to “encourage” food firms to make products healthier; and
a revised curriculum for culinary schools including less salt, sugar, butter and cream.
Meanwhile, American activists are taking notes on how to wedge legislators between us and our food. For instance, one Huffington Post columnist bellyached over the weekend about the generous food portions available to U.S. consumers in restaurants, movie theatres, and newsstands:
Are the restaurant lobbies so big that we can’t start legislating smaller portions? Even with the epidemic obesity rates and health problems?
A legal cap on the size of your morning bagel is just one of many plans in the food cop arsenal. Policy-hungry activists are speculating about many other ways to limit our choices under the guise of “public health.” From legislation (like proposals to outlaw “fast food” restaurants) to litigation (including class-action lawsuits over nutrition labeling on menus), these for-your-own-good campaigns aren’t just international affairs. And if we don’t stop them soon, it may not be too long before your daily work routine includes reporting your weight to the powers that be.