Wednesday, February 27, 2008

You There! Step Away From The Happy Meal, Laddie!

Post below lifted from Blue Crab. See the original for links

The increasingly authoritarian "liberals" in Britain are now working on banning the humble McDonald's Happy Meal. The people's republic city of Liverpool is set to enact a ban on the meals. It's for the children, of course.
McDonald's Happy Meals are to be banned in Liverpool over claims they are contributing to the epidemic of childhood obesity. The city council is planning to outlaw the meals on the grounds that they are damaging the heath of children - particularly as they offer free toys in order to encourage parents to buy junk food for their children. The Liberal Democrat-controlled authority claims the credit for taking the lead in the campaign that led to the ban on smoking in public places.

Members of Liverpool City Council's Childhood Obesity Scrutiny Group want a bye-law that would forbid the sale of fast foot accompanied by toys. Councillors say the promotional items are used to boost sales through the "Pester Power" phenomenon - children pestering parents for Happy Meal toys. The scrutiny Group has ordered a report from town hall officials that would pave the way for the bye-law that would be the first of its kind in the UK.

Lib Dem councillor Paul Twigger said: "The Scrutiny Group is recommending that a bye-law be enforced to stop the circulation of free toys associated with junk food promotions. "We consider it is high time that cash-hungry vultures like McDonald's are challenged over their marketing policies which are directly aimed at promoting unhealthy eating among children.

"Childhood obesity is a dire threat to the health in this country and it needs to be nipped in the bud urgently. "Children are directly targeted with junk food and McDonald's use the Happy Meals to exploit Pester Power of children against which many parents give in. "In most Happy Meals the toy is sold with a burgers containing four or five tablespoons of sugar, along with high-calorie fries and milkshakes. "These fattening meals are being shamelessly promoted through free toys and it is clear that it is going to take legislation to combat the practice.

The left has become much worse than what they rebelled against forty years ago. They now think their groupthink mentality is the only way to think and that decisions must not be made by anyone but them. The lovely "cash-hungry vultures" remark is especially telling. It just doesn't say what Mr. Twigger thinks it does. Nice jackboots, Mr. Twigger.

Obesity "kills more people than terrorism"

So does slimness. It's the people of middling weight who live longest. So FORCE-FEED THE SKINNIES!

A GLOBAL fight against flab would save more lives than the war on terror now that obesity-related chronic diseases have emerged as among the world's biggest killers. Lawrence Gostin, a US government adviser who helped draft laws in the US to combat bioterrorism, will tell a global health summit in Sydney today that he considers chronic diseases the greater of the two threats to humanity. "The human costs are frightening when we consider that obesity could shorten the average lifespan of an entire generation, resulting in the first reversal in life expectancy since data collecting began in 1900," Professor Gostin said.

The Oxford Health Alliance of private and public sector groups that want to reduce obesity and smoking rates will issue a "Sydney Resolution" during the three-day meeting, which starts today. The resolution will be sent toKevin Rudd ahead of the Prime Minister's own high-profile think tank, the 2020 summit, in April. It will recommend ways to reduce sugar, fat and salt content in food, improve labelling, regulate advertising, make fresh food more affordable, workplaces healthier and cities more cycle- and pedestrian-friendly.

Summit facilitator Rob Moodie from the Nossal Institute for Global Health at the University of Melbourne said that eating too much, exercising too little and smoking were proving ultimately more dangerous than the acts committed by terrorists.

They had contributed over time to global epidemics in heart disease, diabetes, lung disease and some cancers. "It's in the hundreds of thousands times more deadly in terms of claiming victims," Professor Moodie said. "There are really three or four diseases that cause 50 per cent of the world's deaths, and a huge amount of it is preventable." Professor Moodie said governments needed to control and reduce the economic incentives that were driving unhealthy lifestyle choices. "Making fat is good for business," he said. "Unhealthy foods and unhealthy drinks sell far better than healthy ones. "Inactivity is much more the norm - and it makes more money - whether it is cars, or e-entertainment or video games."

Professor Moodie said it would take "a lot of political guts" to pursue solutions to obesity such as imposing congestion charges, shifting money to public transport, parks and cycle ways, changing city planning practices, and regulating advertising to children. However, it made no sense to spend just 2 per cent of the health budget on public health and similar measures to keep people out of hospitals, when unhealthy lifestyles accounted for about half the burden on taxpayers, he said.



Just some problems with the "Obesity" war:

1). It tries to impose behavior change on everybody -- when most of those targeted are not obese and hence have no reason to change their behaviour. It is a form of punishing the innocent and the guilty alike. (It is also typical of Leftist thinking: Scorning the individual and capable of dealing with large groups only).

2). The longevity research all leads to the conclusion that it is people of MIDDLING weight who live longest -- not slim people. So the "epidemic" of obesity is in fact largely an "epidemic" of living longer.

3). It is total calorie intake that makes you fat -- not where you get your calories. Policies that attack only the source of the calories (e.g. "junk food") without addressing total calorie intake are hence pissing into the wind. People involuntarily deprived of their preferred calorie intake from one source are highly likely to seek and find their calories elsewhere.

4). So-called junk food is perfectly nutritious. A big Mac meal comprises meat, bread, salad and potatoes -- which is a mainstream Western diet. If that is bad then we are all in big trouble.

5). Food warriors demonize salt and fat. But we need a daily salt intake to counter salt-loss through perspiration and the research shows that people on salt-restricted diets die SOONER. And Eskimos eat huge amounts of fat with no apparent ill-effects. And the average home-cooked roast dinner has LOTS of fat. Will we ban roast dinners?

6). The foods restricted are often no more calorific than those permitted -- such as milk and fruit-juice drinks.

7). Tendency to weight is mostly genetic and is therefore not readily susceptible to voluntary behaviour change.

8). And when are we going to ban cheese? Cheese is a concentrated calorie bomb and has lots of that wicked animal fat in it too. Wouldn't we all be better off without it? And what about butter and margarine? They are just about pure fat. Surely they should be treated as contraband in kids' lunchboxes! [/sarcasm].

9). And how odd it is that we never hear of the huge American study which showed that women who eat lots of veggies have an INCREASED risk of stomach cancer? So the official recommendation to eat five lots of veggies every day might just be creating lots of cancer for the future! It's as plausible (i.e. not very) as all the other dietary "wisdom" we read about fat etc.

10). And will "this generation of Western children be the first in history to lead shorter lives than their parents did"? This is another anti-fat scare that emanates from a much-cited editorial in a prominent medical journal that said so. Yet this editorial offered no statistical basis for its opinion -- an opinion that flies directly in the face of the available evidence.

Even statistical correlations far stronger than anything found in medical research may disappear if more data is used. A remarkable example from Sociology:
"The modern literature on hate crimes began with a remarkable 1933 book by Arthur Raper titled The Tragedy of Lynching. Raper assembled data on the number of lynchings each year in the South and on the price of an acre's yield of cotton. He calculated the correlation coefficient between the two series at -0.532. In other words, when the economy was doing well, the number of lynchings was lower.... In 2001, Donald Green, Laurence McFalls, and Jennifer Smith published a paper that demolished the alleged connection between economic conditions and lynchings in Raper's data. Raper had the misfortune of stopping his analysis in 1929. After the Great Depression hit, the price of cotton plummeted and economic conditions deteriorated, yet lynchings continued to fall. The correlation disappeared altogether when more years of data were added."
So we must be sure to base our conclusions on ALL the data. But in medical research, data selectivity and the "overlooking" of discordant research findings is epidemic.

"What we should be doing is monitoring children from birth so we can detect any deviations from the norm at an early stage and action can be taken". Who said that? Joe Stalin? Adolf Hitler? Orwell's "Big Brother"? The Spanish Inquisition? Generalissimo Francisco Franco Bahamonde? None of those. It was Dr Colin Waine, chairman of Britain's National Obesity Forum. What a fine fellow!


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