I don’t know about you, but I sleep well at night knowing people like Michelle Obama, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter are helping me and countless parents and children from committing caloric harm to ourselves.
Mayor Bloomberg is the latest politician seeking to lecture the public on its eating habits, trying to regulate and limit the size of sodas sold at fast food restaurants. He seeks to ban the sale of sodas larger than 16 ounces at New York City restaurants, delis, street carts and movie theatres.
Bloomberg received a ton of criticism from restaurant operators and everyday citizens, and rightfully so. For someone who believes he has to take drastic “shock and awe” tactics to combat obesity, he’s a little lacking in the credibility department. Just about every year he appears at Coney Island on July 4th to welcome 40,000+ people who come out to attend the annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest.
Sorry Mr. Mayor, you can’t celebrate the gluttonous spectacle of competitive eating, and then on the other side of your mouth lecture and legislate us on the evils of sugary sodas.
First Lady Michelle Obama has also taken on the cause of childhood obesity. I think it’s wonderful that every First Lady has a cause, but the idea of putting salad bars in schools and securing agreements with Darden Restaurants (operators of the Red Lobster and Olive Garden chains) pledging silly things like “reformulating, resizing and removing certain items, and introducing new calorie-conscious, flavorful choices” conveniently overlooks the importance on insisting parents be more responsible in what they feed their children.
I get very skeptical when I read press releases like that. That’s code for replacing french fries with fruit in kids meals…how soon before the only way your kids can get those fries is if they get on a scale right at the restaurant to prove they have an acceptable weight and BMI (body mass index) number.
Another attacker on the evils of soda is Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter. He’s usually pretty reasonable, but he would not take millions of dollars earmarked for Children’s Hospital to work on the issue of childhood obesity because it’s coming from “Big Soda.” He’s hell-bent to tax soda, and if it happens, it will have an incredible impact on jobs and the wallets of residents, workers and tourists.
Then there’s the chocolate milk nonsense. In Maryland and several other states, there’s an effort to ban chocolate milk because they feel it is bad for kids because it’s more fattening than regular milk. After that victory, the milk zealots will seek to ban whole milk, 2% and 1% until every child in America is mandated to drink skim milk.
For all the calorie crusaders like Nutter, Bloomberg and Mrs. Obama, I rarely hear them ever mention parental responsibility. Those three in particular have incredibly powerful media platforms. Instead of blaming soda companies, snack food makers and fast food restaurants for childhood obesity, how about calling out parents for making bad nutrition choices? How about demanding parents get their kids off the computers and the video games and make them go outside and play?
Food companies and restaurants are easy targets, so let’s blame them, right? And let’s tax them while we’re at it.
In the meantime, parents get off easy. We accept and even welcome this type of government intrusion because it takes the blame for childhood obesity off the shoulders of parents. No matter what types of regulations, bans and/or taxes the calorie cops come up with, it still comes down to parents and kids being reasonable and responsible…and leave the rest of us alone.
Childhood obesity is a serious issue. But the government, for all its mandates, bans and taxes, cannot legislate responsibility.
What do you think?
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