For about a year now, I have been arguing that public funding of health care will be used as a Trojan Horse to introduce a near fascist micro-regulation of our lives. I argue that if the government is funding health care, then they will claim a financial stake in your health, and begin regulating everything from your food intake to your exercise habits, even your risk choices (e.g. snowboarding). I made this argument here and here, among other places. The general reaction has been, "gee Coyote, nice theoretical argument but you can put your tinfoil hat away now. You are being paranoid."
Another doctor who examined the journal report was Dr. Brian
McCrindle, a childhood obesity expert and professor of pediatrics with
a pediatric hospital in Toronto.
He warned that the looming problem must be addressed.
"The wave of heart disease and stroke could totally swamp the public health care system," he said.
He warned that lawmakers had to take a broader view of the looming
problem "” and consider doing things such as banning trans fats and
legislating against direct advertising of junk food toward children.
"It's not going to be enough any more just to say to the consumer 'You have to change your behavior,'" he said.
Notice that he left the second half of his last sentence unsaid. That second half is "the government is going to have to force them." Of course, none of this is an issue if we all have personal responsibility for our own health care costs and therefore for the consequences of our own decisions.
Postscript: By the way, for anyone older than 30 who grew up in the sixties and seventies when all the intelligentsia were painting pictures of Malthusian starvation nightmares, this is GOOD news:
The percentages of overweight children also are expected to increase
significantly in the Middle East and Southeast Asia. Mexico, Chile,
Brazil and Egypt have rates comparable to fully industrialized nations,
He estimated that, for example, one in five children in China will be overweight by 2010.
The reason for this is not because of some evil corporate conspiracy (though that's what the article attributes it to) but due to the fact that these kids are simply not starving to death any more. I am absolutely sure that the public health "crisis" from these overweight kids is less of a problem than the public health crisis of 30 years ago, when they were all malnourished and dying of being, well, severely underweight. I mean, are there any of you out there in the over 40 crowd who didn't get the "there are starving kids in China" guilt trip growing up when you didn't eat your dinner?