If you want to reduce obesity, instead of punishing super-sized persons, subsidize healthy foods. Make them cheaper and more available. What if apples and legumes were easier to come by than coke, french fries and cheetos?
Imagine diverting 10% of what we spend now on obesity-care – say $60 billion – to subsidize healthy foods. How much less might we spend later on obesity-care – $100 billion, $300 billion? Then add the gains in productivity. Sounds to me like a win-win scenario.
(From Huffington Post, Deane Waldman) The production and distribution of unhealthy foods is very big business and highly profitable. Big food, like big pharma, is politically active and quite effective at defending their profitable position. (See Marion Nestle’s book titled “Food Politics.”)
Consider obesity from the standpoints of three different people: provider, taxpayer, and President. The health care provider doesn’t care about your weight other than the medical complications. It is part of their moral code to provider services to sick people regardless of all other factors.
Both healthy-sized people and super-sized people pay the same amount into the healthcare system. Yet the super-sized take more out because they require more health care services. The healthy-eating taxpayer feels this is unfair. Finally, imagine yourself the CEO of Corporation USA, also known as President of the USA.
Your primary goal is to protect and nurture the nation as a whole. In contrast to either the provider or the taxpayer, you have power. You can encourage passage of laws, rules and regulations. You have influence over the tax code. You cannot legislate morality or behavior in the national best interest or even behavior in the individual’s best interest. Intellectually, people know they should eat ‘healthy’ but the bad stuff tastes sooooo good and besides, it’s cheaper.