Do The (Obesity) Math

As today’s Los Angeles Times reports, “government is taking unprecedented steps to watch what you put in your mouth.” French officials are working to levy a “sin” tax on all tasty foods. The British health minister will soon be mailing warning letters to parents of chubby school kids. L.A. city officials have stripped half a million residents of the freedom to choose their own lunch without bureaucratic intervention. And food activists are cheering them on.
Despite lawmakers’ seemingly exclusive focus on our diets in their obesity campaigns, federal government research doesn’t support the notion that food is the culprit behind our curvy physiques. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average number of calories consumed by adults has actually dropped since 2001. Over the same period, obesity rates continued to grow. Even though we’ve been eating less, we’re still piling on the pounds.
It’s time for Americans — politicians and the public alike — to tune out obesity “experts” and listen, instead, to those who offer a broader, healthier perspective:

James Hill, co-founder of the National Weight Control Registry: “We focus too much on diet and not enough on physical activity.”

Dr. James Levine, Mayo Clinic researcher: “Leisure-time sedentariness has resulted [in] a caloric deficit that potentially could account for the entire obesity epidemic.”

Dr. Philip Nader, pediatrician and professor emeritus at the University of California at San Diego: “People don’t recognize [inactivity] as the crisis that it is.”

Steven Blair, Cooper Institute researcher: “Inactivity is the major public health problem of this century.”

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