Thursday, January 8, 2009

An Epidemic

Today's The Boston Globe carried the following headline: State readies campaign to curb obesity epidemic. The first three lines are priceless.
Major restaurant chains in Massachusetts would be required to prominently post the calorie counts for all their offerings - at the counter or on the menu - under a far-reaching anti-obesity campaign that Governor Deval Patrick's administration is expected to announce today.

The administration's battle against bulging waistlines also calls for public schools to measure the height and weight of first-, fourth-, seventh-, and 10th-graders and calculate whether a child is overweight. The finding would be sent home with students along with detailed advice on eating better and exercising more, with the goal of reducing the incidence of health conditions once almost unheard of in the young, including type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol.

But, alas, the fatuous program is not.

In addition to the horror that is administrative costs of any new government program, the question of invasion of privacy, and the obvious beyond scope of the government questions, I'm left wondering. Why does anyone think this will help?

When I think "epidemic", I think of a disease spreading rapidly and extensively by infection and affecting many individuals in an area or a population at the same time*, but not obesity. Isn't that a medical term for too much fat for your own good? It's not a disease. It's not contagious. It's not even necessarily unhealthy! I'm certain there are many obese people who are healthier than I am, in fact. But I digress.

As I sometimes like to do when I am presented with a rather asinine proposal, I will substitute an analogous subject matter. Another non-disease, non-contagious, but perhaps not-for-your-own-good body manifestation in place of the original to better judge the insanity.

Tomorrow, we may read that our state government, in its infinite wisdom and capacity to control our lives for our own betterment, is readying its campaign to curb body piercings.

*Okay. I got it from the American Heritage Dictionary.


Christina said...

Phrase of the day: Ay-yi-yi.

How much do you want to bet those kids will get weighed and measured in front of other kids at school? Talk about an invasion of privacy.

Lynne said...

Really, my biggest concern is that the more the schools assume parental roles, the less a parent will feel responsible in that role, making the what they are calling "an epidemic" even worse.

A kid's weight is no one's business but her parents', or in some case, her doctor's. But it is never the state's business and most definitely not the state's responsibility.