Obesity in America - 1998 vs. 2008A post by Maynard

The map at the right appears in this Economist article. You knew the nation was porking up; here are some numbers. Colorado is the only state in which less than 20% of the population is obese.

Obesity is not evil. Plenty of wonderful people are carrying a few extra pounds. But being overweight is not a virtue.

My general philosophy is I want people to have personal freedom to choose (i.e., the “liberty” thing); I also want them to make the “right” choices. But in case my “right” is your “wrong”, take comfort from my paucity of power. I will enforce my notion of “right” solely through whatever small social pressure I can apply. I generally do not ask the government to intrude coercively into people’s private lives.

In concrete terms…I don’t want to pay for the care of your self-inflicted wounds, nor do I aspire to tax your “bad” food. I respect you too much to treat you like a child. Live as you see fit, and accept the consequences. Ask me to help you as a friend, and I’ll do what I can. By way of influencing you to slim down, perhaps I’ll make piggy noises while you eat. If you don’t like that, you can throw your food in my face. This is the way mature adults deal with such issues.

Chart of Weight Gain by Ex-SmokersThere are many reasons we’ve gotten fatter, but I can’t help wonder how much of the rise in eating corresponds to the drop in smoking. This article notes that smokers are less obese than non-smokers, but ex-smokers are more obese than non-smokers. Is it possible that our aggressive efforts to stomp out the “evil” cigarettes has merely skewed our vices without making us healthier or “better”?

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4 Comments | Leave a comment
  1. jupaczyn says:

    Given the economic collapse and hyper inflation that may be coming due to the concerted orgasmic over-spending (and printing money) by this administration & Congress, perhaps it is a good thing that so many folks are getting fat. When food gets too expensive to buy either because all of our money is being confiscated by the governement and/or hyper inflation causes a loaf of bread to be unaffordable (think Weimaar Republic), we’ll at least be able to live off of our bodies’ fat reserves for a while. Just thinkin’ outside the box there…

  2. sperry says:

    I used to subscribe to the E”communist” until about a year ago. That publication is very anti-American though they often have excellent articles. Too much positive about Barack Obama before the election.

  3. MRFIXIT says:

    That is a great observation. Everybody I know who has quit smoking has packed on the pounds. Half have also become anti-smoking nazi-zealots. The fattest of them seem to be the rabid ones. Maybe it’s the extra weight that’s got them ticked at the world, and that’s why they are so rabid.

  4. Shifra says:

    Hmmm. I’m wondering why Urkel is so slim. Didn’t he ‘quit” smoking? Yeah, right! He announced, a while back, that he is “95% cured.” I think that’s like being “95% pregnant.” I do not care if Urkel smokes, but I can’t stand his B.S. And, btw, that gum he always seems be chewing is not Juicy Fruit. Want to bet it’s Nicorette? Ah, yes, our Nicotine-Addict-in-Chief is a real piece of work!

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