Thursday, January 04, 2007

"Most Americans Want Public Policies to Prevent Obesity"

This is not surprising, but it is certainly disappointing. It seems that Americans are further slouching towards the abdication of personal responsibility in their lives. Apparently, it is now everyone else's responsibility to keep people from eating too much or facing the consequences thereof. From the Washington comPost:
A large majority of Americans say they support changes in public policy to stem the rising tide of obesity among adults, a new survey shows.

"There is a lot of support for employer and health policies aimed at preventing obesity," said lead researcher Bernard Fuemmeler, an assistant professor in the department of community and family medicine at Duke University Medical Center, in Durham, N.C.
Support for "employer and health policies" is MSM-speak for "my boss and the government should pick up the tab", so I am happy to provide you with these translation services.

This part of the story nails it:
"The problem is not necessarily that employers need tax incentives," said Kathryn M. Kolasa, a professor in the department of nutrition services and patient education at East Carolina University. "The employer can expect to realize health-care cost savings and can be motivated by that."

However, "It's not clear what will motivate the employees," Kolasa said.
Please do not misunderstand me here: I am not unsympathetic to the obese. Not at all, and quite the opposite. What I am definitely unsympathetic to, though, is anyone's contention that the government or private insurance companies should bail them out of what is largely a condition brought about by choices, since glandular problems (i.e. not choice-related) make up roughly a scant 1% of obesity cases. In other words, we should be free to eat ourselves into obesity and then subsequently demand that someone else pay for any treatments that we need (or think we need) to correct the consequences of our own behavior?

Smokers smoke, knowing that they're whittling away a few years off of their lives. Hey, it's a free country and cigs are legal products, so I have no beef with that. Most smokers will tell you themselves that they are well aware of the risks of smoking yet do so anyway, and they don't fault society or companies for their impending health problems. Will someone explain why overeating and underexercising should be any different?