Activists frequently justify their invasive proposals to regulate every aspect of our diets by promoting the idea that obesity rates will skyrocket in the future. We’ve been skeptical. So who’s right?
New evidence suggests that we are, and that obesity rates have leveled off and may improve in the future. According to a study published in JAMA, the country’s obesity rate dropped by almost half over the past decade among 2- to 5-year-olds — falling to 8.1 percent in 2011-2012, from 14 percent in 2003-2004. Such health progress from young children is especially significant because preventing obesity at an early age helps young people maintain a healthy weight into adulthood.
Among the general population, there was no change in the obesity rate. So much for the hyperbolic headlines proclaiming that roughly half the nation would be too fat by 2030.
This result is hardly an outlier. Report after report shows encouraging evidence that shows the country is getting fitter – an August 2013 CDC report reveals that obesity rates have also fallen among low-income children.
However, this good news is unlikely to deter government busybodies from trying to regulate food choices. We’ve seen a war on snack foods, where politicians look to limit consumer choice by instituting so-called “fat taxes” — most notably on soft drinks — and outright bans maintained by the food police on foods they think are unhealthy. New York Times writers and other commentators have even gone so far as to claim that we must rethink our individual rights when it comes to so-called dangerous behaviors like eating.
But what this study illustrating declining obesity shows is that parents are taking steps on their own to give their children a healthier lifestyle. Government intervention in the form of fat taxes and the food police that limit individual choice is not necessary.