Yesterday, a study published in the journal Obesity warned that normal-weight Americans may soon be found only in history books. According to the dire projections made by researchers at The Johns Hopkins University, all of us will become overweight or obese in a matter of decades. Think about that. No one in America — not supermodels, not Olympic athletes, not a single movie star — will boast a lean physique.
This study oversimplifies weight gain, assuming a steady continuation of previous trends. But evidence, not to mention common sense, suggests it’s wrong. The latest federal government study found that childhood obesity rates haven’t increased in almost a decade, and the rate among adults has slowed down considerably.
In the end, it’s individual decisions — not statistical models — that determine our individual health. Apocalyptic (and bogus) statistics of “skyrocketing” obesity rates only serve as justification for the increasingly intrusive government regulations sought by activist groups and overeager health officials. Case in point: Los Angeles city officials have banned new “fast food” restaurants in order to save residents from their own dietary decisions.
But flexing municipal muscle to eliminate people’s choices won’t necessarily keep them trim. Health expert Ken Smith explains in New Scientist that human behavior will eventually express itself: “If it’s truly all selection, changing the environment is just going to induce a kind of migration.” So get ready for the great L.A. exodus of ’08.