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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review May 31, 2012/ 10 Sivan, 5772

Drop and Give Uncle Sam 20

By A. Barton Hinkle




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | At a "Harvard Thinks Big" confab earlier this year, evolutionary biologist Daniel Lieberman offered his own bright idea for tackling the nation's obesity epidemic. Merely medicating it won't do, he said, and education is well-meaning but ineffective. His answer? "Coercion. … We should start telling corporations what to do." But not just corporations. He also advocated — "to hearty applause," the Harvard Gazette noted — "requiring people to exercise."

Lieberman's idea sounds radical. For now. But in fact, he is (pardon the term) only slightly ahead of the curve. Yale's Kelly Brownell has long advocated taxes on Twinkies, soda and other high-sugar snacks. That idea has gained support from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, along with the mayors of Philadelphia and Baltimore, and state lawmakers in numerous states. The New York Times' Mark Bittman likens foods with added sugar to tobacco, and asks, "How do we regulate the consumption of dangerous foods? … We need the government on our side. It must acknowledge the dangers caused by the most unhealthy aspects of our diet and figure out how to help us cope with them." Bittman's colleague, Frank Bruni, agrees. In a column lamenting America's spreading waistline, he concludes that "we need to rethink and remake our environment much more thoroughly."

Well. Like the cavalry riding to the rescue, the Institute of Medicine has just unleashed a report — 478 pages, corpulent in its own right — addressing the topic. It advances the notion that obesity is not an individual shortcoming requiring voluntary personal reformation, but a societal problem requiring compulsory systemic change. So in addition to exposing what it calls "obesogenic environmental forces," the IOM proposes a wide range of government policies to combat them, from the sensible (provide healthy food in the public schools) to the seriously alarming (let government dictate the recipes for commercial foods).

Conspicuously absent from the recommendations? Any significant redress for those government policies that have contributed to the problem in the first place. Take dietary advice. According to the Harvard Gazette, "Our ancient ancestors' diet was heavy on tubers, fruits, and vegetables, and lean meat from game animals. In fact, Lieberman said, if you look at what our ancient ancestors likely ate, you'd wind up with something like the dietary advice coming out of [the Harvard School for Public Health]." You certainly would not wind up with a recommendation that you carbo-load by eating, oh, six to 11 servings of bread, cereal, rice and pasta every day. Yet that is precisely what the federal government's food pyramid advised from 1992 to 2005. By remarkable coincidence, that time frame happens to overlap the period of the greatest growth in obesity rates.

The IOM report does mention building more sidewalks and scrutinizing federal agricultural policy. But Dan Glickman — a former agriculture secretary who chaired the panel producing the IOM report — rejects the idea of ending government subsidies for the makers of high-fructose corn syrup. "There is no evidence subsidies contribute to obesity," he says. Yet the IOM evidently thinks more subsidies could help reduce obesity, because it recommends subsidizing fruit and vegetable crops. In the event of a government failure, apply more government directly to the wound.

All this sturm und drang seems odd, or at least oddly timed — because the obesity epidemic has actually leveled off. Rates of obesity in men have remained largely stable for the past eight years. Among white women, obesity has not risen for the past 12 years. And among black and Latino women, obesity has risen only slightly — and "that increase mostly occurred early in that 12-year period," reports The Washington Post.

So if obesity rates have not changed significantly, what has? Government's share of total spending on health care — which was 41 percent in 2007 — is expected to exceed 52 percent by 2019, whether the Supreme Court upholds the Affordable Care Act or not. And the government says obesity costs a lot of money: more than $150 billion a year, by some estimates.

Those estimates are wildly inflated by the inclusion of factors such as "the value of income from decreased productivity" and "the value of future income lost by premature death." Yet there are genuine costs induced by illnesses resulting from obesity, such as diabetes. And the government does spend billions of dollars — principally through Medicaid and Medicare — to treat them. Since Jones is being forced to pay for Smith's medical care, goes the argument, Smith should be forced to stay fit and trim, lest he become a burden on Jones. And since he cannot be expected to do so on his own — owing to "obesogenic" factors and whatnot — he should be made to. Even through compulsory exercise, if that is what it takes.

Of course the coercionaries could leave Smith alone, if they simply left Jones alone too. But this solution never seems to occur to them, does it? And why should it? It would require a certain degree of humility and restraint. Besides, they already know the solution: In the event of any government failure, apply more government directly to the wound.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

A. Barton Hinkle is Deputy Editor of the Editorial Pages at Richmond Times-Dispatch Comment by clicking here.


Previously:




05/15/12: The feds would like to know if you enjoyed that video
05/03/12: Obama inspires: 'America --- Still Not as Bad Off as Venezuela!'
04/26/12: It's everyone's favorite time of year again
03/29/12: GOP disillusionment is a good thing
03/27/12: Just what America needs: more red tape
03/20/12: Nation wondering: what happening to language?
02/21/12: Culture warriors resort to propaganda
02/15/12: Step away from that cookie and grab some air
02/08/12: Lessons in heresy
02/01/12: Do We Really Need Pickle-Flavored Potato Chips?
01/11/12: Shut up, they explained
12/30/11: A Modest Proposal: Let's Ban All Sports!
12/26/11: A Christmas letter from the Obamas
02/24/11: Will the next Watson need us?
12/24/10: Here Are Some Good Gifts for People You Hate
06/15/10: The Presinator
05/26/10: More than equal
04/08/10: Angry Right Takes a Page From Angry Left but guess who is ‘ugly’?
02/16/10: Either Obama owes George W. Bush an apology, or he owes the rest of us a very good explanation for his about-face on wiretapping
02/03/10: Talkin' to us 'tards
01/27/10: I never thought I'd see the day when progressives would howl in ragebecause the Supreme Court said government should not ban books
01/07/10: Gun-Control Advocates Play Fast and Loose
12/31/09: Nearly everything progressives say about neoconservative interventionism abroad applies to their own preferred policies at home





© 2011, A. Barton Hinkle

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