Precies in de week dat de aan de WHO gelieerde Obesity Task Force zich aan de hand van een 160 pagina’s dik rapport gaat beraden over de wereldwijde bestrijding van het gebruik van te veel zout, vet en suiker spreekt presidentskandidaat Bush zich uit tégen een volgende hetze op gezondheidsgebied.
President Bush is going to make the world safe for fat people.
Washington’s plump pride initiative pits it against the alliance of the EU, the UN and NGOs who have found another evil for which to blame America and George Bush – a worldwide obesity problem. According to the International Obesity Task Force (an NGO associated with the World Health Organisation), one in three Americans is obese as well as at least 16 per cent of British teenagers, not to mention the remaining 300 million obese people in the world the task force appear to have counted. The world is gorging on American fast food and American gadgetry. They are sitting watching television or playing on computers when they should be exercising; taking lifts instead of the stairs; driving not bicycling. They are getting fat.
This week, the International Obesity Task Force will discuss its new 160-page report, several years in the making. The report dislikes the usual things – sugar, salts, saturated fat, technology and modern farming. It paints a disastrous picture of a world in which children don’t go to bed hungry at night: they go to bed too full of fast food and chocolate bars.
This cruel Earth is a planet where we die of cancers, heart disease or diabetes caused or exacerbated by our bad eating habits.
Life, as someone must have said, is a bit of a crap shoot. We all have to die of something and we must be the first generation to want to die in perfect health. But lifespan remains mysterious. There are fat 80-year-olds who stuff themselves with sausages and have more energy and mental acuity than people half their age. There are thin joggers who die prematurely of heart disease and non-smokers who get cancer. Perhaps some diseases can be directly attributed to a specific cause, such as asbestos; still, it all seems a bit doubtful.
Obesity is gearing up as the next great crusade following tobacco. It’s a natural for the regulators of the world. Food habits are directly connected to the fertile area of “lifestyle”, which lives near Regulatory Paradise.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with trying to do things right: healthy foods and exercise are clearly A Good Thing. Children ought to have proper lunches and not only crisps and Maryland cookies. Serious diseases that are very food-sensitive, such as diabetes, are obviously something to try to prevent – if at all possible. The problem is how to do this.