May 14, 2012 1 Comment
The best argument to deflate (probably) conservative cries of “Nanny State!” about regulating unhealthy food comes from the success of the campaign against smoking. By far the most successful policy changes for curtailing smoking have been restricting advertising, removing access to youths, banning smoking in public places and taxing tobacco.
At a certain point, as a country, we will recognize the similarities between the obesity epidemic and smoking. So far, the grotesque little diabetic imps that flop around next to you on the plane or in public places haven’t been enough to derive a unified opinion on taxing unhealthy food or subsidizing healthy stuff. Currently, our nation’s food subsidies are for corn, which ends up making corn sugar cheap and in everything, and meat.
This Fresh Air interview about the HBO Documentary “Weight of a Nation” discusses the obesity epidemic, and these issues of regulation, in much better detail. Still, I wonder what it will take because I find myself able to don my conservative hat and remain unconvinced.