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Saving fat people from themselves

By Alan Caruba
web posted June 10, 2002

Let's forget about cholera, typhoid fever and malaria, the UN's World Health Organization (WHO) and its Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) has now set its eyes on saving fat people from themselves.

A case is being made is that obesity is not only a health threat to those who are too fat, but that various restrictions must be imposed on everything from soda to snack foods to save the rest of us from possibly becoming fat. Fat as defined by the UN, of course.

And who shall we accuse of this dastardly plot to turn us all into waddling horrors? Obviously, it's the growers, ranchers, processors, and merchandisers who are to blame for these people being fat. You believe that, don't you? This latest scare campaign is not about obesity. It is a further extension of the UN's effort to control every aspect of everyone's lives and to control who eats what and how much.

What you eat is your business. If you eat too much, it's your fault. It's just that simple. Nothing, however, is simple when the forces of totalitarianism terrorize people in order to expand their power and wreak havoc on everyone involved in the daily process of feeding everyone else. The implications for economic harm, particularly to American agriculture, are mindboggling.

We are now being told that obesity threatens Western civilization and the developing nations. One wonders why WHO/FAO would devote its resources to worrying about fat people in a world where far too many go to bed hungry? By the FAO's own estimates "in 1997-99, there were 815 million undernourished people in the world; 777 million in developing countries, 27 million in countries transitioning to market economies and 11 million in industrialized countries." That is a lot of hungry people.

In 1998, the same UN concluded "The earth produces enough grain to provide every person worldwide with 3,500 calories a day. Taking into consideration all food, including meats and fish, fruits and root crops, the world produces at least 4.3 pounds of food per person per day." A 1997 study by the American Association for the Advancement of Science found that "78 percent of all starving children under five live in countries that have food surpluses. Those surpluses are exported to wealthier nations." Hunger worldwide is not a question of the earth capacity to feed everyone. It is often the result of foolish and even evil policies.

These days Americans are being subjected to a campaign of lies intended to convince them that too many are fat because of soft drinks and so-called "junk food." People get fat because they eat too much and exercise too little.

However, in a February 27, 2001 edition of The Washington Post, there was an article headlined "Research suggests kids who drink a lot of soft drinks risk becoming fat, weak-boned, cavity-prone and caffeine-addicted." You had to read the article to find that "cavities have declined while soda consumption has increased." Suffice it to say the "research" cited was dubious at best. Virtually every scare campaign begins with "research" that invariably proves to be false. The key words to watch out for in such articles are "might", "may" and "could."

According to the American Obesity Association, "Much remains unknown about obesity." What we do know is that fat people eat too much! That is not a threat to society. It is a health problem inherent to fat people. As the AOA points out, "Most people who try to lose weight do not use the recommended combination of reducing calories and exercising at least 150 minutes or more per week." Duh!

This, of course, has not deterred WHO and FAO from having just issued a draft report on diet, nutrition and the prevention of chronic diseases. Based, we're told, on "expert consultation." Nobody at WHO invited input from the US food industry or other sources that might contradict the report's findings. As with all UN reports, the results were determined in advance. For example, while the report claims soft drinks are linked to obesity, an analysis of US government data contradicts that assertion.

Twenty-three national and international food and related organizations wrote a joint letter to Tommy G. Thompson, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, expressing serious concerns about the report. "To date, there is no evidence that individual behavior, such as dietary habits, food choices, and the desire to be physically active, can be manipulated by mandates of legislative bodies or coercion by regulators." In other words, you cannot force people to decide what and how much to eat, nor can you force them to exercise. Those are individual lifestyle choices and, that last time I checked, in the land of free, people expect to make those choices for themselves.

Yet another slick, duplicitous campaign is in the works, aimed at major food companies, and emanating from the dark cellars of the United Nations. Prepare, too, for the legions of activists and trial attorneys who will descend on these and other major food corporations. If you thought the assault on tobacco companies was ludicrous, wait now for a fat person's lawsuit seeking damages for having stuffed their face until they burst!

Alan Caruba is the founder of The National Anxiety Center, a clearinghouse for information about scare campaigns designed to influence public opinion and policies. The Center maintains an Internet site at www.anxietycenter.com. (c) Alan Caruba, 2002

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