The United Nations met recently in New York to discuss public health issues, including non-communicable conditions like obesity. And who other than New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to show up and promote more government involvement in what people eat—worldwide.
However, the premises behind the public health “mandate” for overreaching policies are looking weaker and weaker. A new study released last week finds that the usual punching bags for “food cops”—restaurants and cheap food, among others—are not responsible for the increase in obesity rates.
We’re spreading the good word far and wide today to the media:
Baum and Chou’s research finds that changes in food costs and the increasing prevalence of restaurants over the past 30 years are not linked to rising obesity rates. This flies in the face of health activists and politicians looking to address obesity rates through government regulations such as fast food zoning laws, placing grocery stores in food deserts, and taxing products like soda.
“Health zealots and legislators like to place the blame on corporations for perpetuating a so-called ‘toxic food environment’ that hampers Americans’ ability to shed pounds,” said J. Justin Wilson, CCF’s Senior Research Analyst. “However, this new study demonstrates external factors like at-home food prices or fast food locations are not the culprit for America’s burgeoning bellies. Lack of personal responsibility is what is making us overweight, and as this study seems to substantiate it will take personal responsibility to get us out of this mess. Fundamentally, the key to maintaining a healthy weight has always been striking a balance between calories in and calories out.”
The more Bloomberg and his international allies try to put the squeeze on what people eat and drink, the more obvious it will be how futile the “Big Apple way” is.