The anti-obesity scam

I was taken aback by the way in which the interview with Michelle Obama was conducted on the Huckabee show on February 20. The First Lady came across as a very gracious  person and a good parent, but the substance and background of her childhood anti-obesity campaign was never discussed. Instead there was a passing reference to her children's BMI.
 
There is no medical evidence that fat by itself causes any disease; instead there are putative links to mortality based solely on statistical models and flawed data. School based anti-fat campaigns conducted in various states in the 1990's involving thousands of elementary school children failed to reduce the children's weight. The much quoted BMI (Body Mass Index) was not invented by a medical doctor but by the Belgian astronomer Adolphe Quetelet who attempted to mathematically characterize human physiognomy in 1830. The definitions of overweight and obesity nevertheless are based on arbitrary BMI values. The belief that an obesity epidemic which began in 1980 is threatening our health is unfounded. Similar warnings were issued in the early 1950's. While much is said about our increasing fatness it is fact that Americans today are taller on average than their grandparents, yet this is not seen as a health problem.
 
When Michelle Obama spoke of "food deserts" the implication was all too clear: evil shopkeepers in the inner cities were stocking their shelves with unhealthy foodstuffs that were making ghetto children fat. Only through  the efforts of government funded programs could large supermarkets be brought in to provide a healthy choice.

The notion that children today don't play or run because it is unsafe outside, but sit in front of the TV and gorge themselves on junk food is a stereotype and a useful one at that. Pharmaceutical companies and government agencies have a vested interest in making us thin through medication and constant vigilance in order to ensure profits and power in the hands of a new Health Industrial Complex. The media assists this effort by fanning the flames of anti-fat hysteria.

By playing the child card, politicians are attempting to make further inroads into our family life through our stomachs. What is more frightening is that they are diverting our attention from the very real issue affecting the lives of our children, the soaring national debt. We must not let ourselves be misled by the purveyors of the obesity panic and must see the anti-obesity campaign for the smokescreen that it is.
 
K.F. Gerston
I was taken aback by the way in which the interview with Michelle Obama was conducted on the Huckabee show on February 20. The First Lady came across as a very gracious  person and a good parent, but the substance and background of her childhood anti-obesity campaign was never discussed. Instead there was a passing reference to her children's BMI.
 
There is no medical evidence that fat by itself causes any disease; instead there are putative links to mortality based solely on statistical models and flawed data. School based anti-fat campaigns conducted in various states in the 1990's involving thousands of elementary school children failed to reduce the children's weight. The much quoted BMI (Body Mass Index) was not invented by a medical doctor but by the Belgian astronomer Adolphe Quetelet who attempted to mathematically characterize human physiognomy in 1830. The definitions of overweight and obesity nevertheless are based on arbitrary BMI values. The belief that an obesity epidemic which began in 1980 is threatening our health is unfounded. Similar warnings were issued in the early 1950's. While much is said about our increasing fatness it is fact that Americans today are taller on average than their grandparents, yet this is not seen as a health problem.
 
When Michelle Obama spoke of "food deserts" the implication was all too clear: evil shopkeepers in the inner cities were stocking their shelves with unhealthy foodstuffs that were making ghetto children fat. Only through  the efforts of government funded programs could large supermarkets be brought in to provide a healthy choice.

The notion that children today don't play or run because it is unsafe outside, but sit in front of the TV and gorge themselves on junk food is a stereotype and a useful one at that. Pharmaceutical companies and government agencies have a vested interest in making us thin through medication and constant vigilance in order to ensure profits and power in the hands of a new Health Industrial Complex. The media assists this effort by fanning the flames of anti-fat hysteria.

By playing the child card, politicians are attempting to make further inroads into our family life through our stomachs. What is more frightening is that they are diverting our attention from the very real issue affecting the lives of our children, the soaring national debt. We must not let ourselves be misled by the purveyors of the obesity panic and must see the anti-obesity campaign for the smokescreen that it is.
 
K.F. Gerston