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The Obesity Epidemic

I was listening on my car radio the other night to an interview with a woman concerned about the obesity epidemic. Epidemic was her word.  I'd always associated the word epidemic with infectious or contagious diseases. To his credit, the interviewer asked if that was the proper word. She said she wouldn't insist on that word, and would be just as happy with the word "catastrophe".

At any rate, she said that although increases in the obesity rate had leveled off, the rates were still unacceptably  high. She believed drastic action was needed such as a tax on sugary drinks (the definition of which includes fruit juice.)

I didn't listen very long. But she made it clear that obesity was our #1 problem and must be fought by any means necessary. This started me thinking about a couple of things.

One thing was a possible cause of the rise in obesity that nobody wants to consider. Lots of people have quit smoking in the last 20 years. Most people gain weight when they quit smoking.There has to be a correlation between the decline in smoking and the rise in obesity. Somebody should give that a look.

And a question entered my mind. After tobacco and after fattening food, what is next? One might call that a slippery slope argument. Of course people who said "next they'll be going after fattening food" during the early days of the tobacco wars had their arguments dismissed as slippery slopes, and they were right.

A better argument might be that there's not a left to go after. But there is one thing. Most people agree that caffeine is not terribly healthy. It's reasonable to wonder if Starbucks might be in the sights of the nanny-staters after they get through with McDonalds. Already, Chuck Schumer has gone after one caffeine product. Why not all of them?

Stay tuned.