Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Obesity Crusaders

Earlier this year I wrote "Waiting for the government, schools, daycare, health organizations, politicians, doctors, the food industry or others to fix the problem for you is no longer an option any parent should consider viable for the long-term health of their child. It's time we parents step up to the plate and take responsibility for what we're feeding our kids, what messages we allow marketers to ingrain in their minds, and what activities we encourage them to engage in each day."

Problem now? As the laws of unintended consequences go, now everyone is jumping in the game trying to solve the problem and what we're heading for isn't a solution, but a nanny-state!

In the United States we're not quite there yet, but consider this - Britain is establishing a database to track all children, their habits and behaviors, and investigate families whose children are flagged in the database as "at risk," based on particular behaviors - including failure to eat the government recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables each day!

The index - or those computer systems linked to it - will carry details of everything from vaccinations to whether a child is eating enough fruit and vegetables, or is struggling in the classroom...Doctors, schools and the police will have to alert the database to a wide range of "concerns". Two warning flags on a child's record could trigger an investigation.

Today, Britain's Daily Mail reported Sainsbury's (a retail grocery chain) will roll out a program of "Nutrition Nannies" to walk the aisles of their supermarkets and "advise families about what to buy to lose weight and stay fit."

Can you imagine?

It seems these obesity crusaders believe that the state has the right to define and enforce a single vision of what constitutes healthy living and a good life. The establishment of the "Children Index" database assumes the government's judgment is inherently superior to any individual's judgment - if you stray from the accepted vision, expect a knock at your door as you will be investigated; afterall you are putting your child at risk!

Think it can't happen here in the United States?


  1. Anonymous9:20 AM

    It happened in Texas when Bush was governor. Now Bush wants to expand that program to all states.

    New Freedom Commission on Mental Health has proposed comprehensive mental-illness screening for all Americans which will take place in schools and doctors offices.

  2. Anonymous9:42 AM

    I like the UK, but I sure as hell wouldn't want to live there, because of stuff like this....

  3. Anonymous10:39 AM

    It can very easily happen. The do-gooders have no boundaries, just look at the anti-smoking laws, the seat belt laws and look at how willing the state of Florida is to take peoples children away for little or no reason, only to give them to perverts to care for them. The food police are everywhere. Armed with little or no expertise they are quite comfortable telling us how to live. The fact that their advice has done no good in past seems to disturb them not at all. Oh well the muslims will put an end to this, if the liberals have their way.
    Be well
    Art Phillips

  4. Anonymous10:42 AM

    New York City's ban on transfats looks like the camel's nose in the tent to me.

  5. Anonymous12:42 PM

    Most govt IT projects in the UK end up costing an absolute fortune and few, if any, ever work a envisaged.

    The new NHS system is way behind schedule. Most likely this idea will just fade away, and be replaced by some other elaborate scheme. Few poiliticians are ever around long enough to see a large project through to completion.

    Paul Anderson

  6. I was on th opposite side of this when my kids were younger. My daughter was deemed underweight by WIC (women, infant, children program for food vouchers) and I was told to feed her pudding, ice cream, etc if she didn't eat her regular meals!!! I was threatened with a visit from DSS if she didn't gain weight!!! Luckily my doc put them straight!

    Pediatricians should be handling this. There should be education available, but until that is improved and available there won't be much changing.

    If Bush takes this on as his next "war on", we'll all be monitored in nothing flat! (but we may not know it!)


  7. when are we going to say to politians enough is enough?
    I am happy for them to govern & make laws that allow us to live in some sort of harmony but this constant interfering in how we are allowed to eat think & feel is starting to bug me. Most of these idiot law makers couldn't organise an egg hunt in a hen house let alone be trusted to tell us what it is we should be putting in our mouths. Maybe there should be a war on nanny law makers !!

  8. Illinois has passed and begun implementing The Children's Mental Health Act of 2003, based on the Texas model.
    The USDA is developing "The National Animal Identification System (NAIS)",

    Every person who owns even one horse, cow, pig, chicken, sheep, or virtually any livestock animal, will be forced to register his or her home, including owner's name, address and telephone number, and then be keyed to global positioning system (GPS) coordinates for satellite monitoring in a giant federal database under a 7-digit "premises ID number."

    Every animal will be assigned a 15-digit ID number, also to be kept in a giant federal database. The form of ID will most likely be a tag or microchip containing a Radio Frequency Identification Device (RFID), designed to be read from a distance. The plan may also include collecting the DNA and/or a retinal scan of every animal

    The owner will be required to report the birthdate of an animal, the application of every animal's ID tag, every time an animal leaves or enters the property, every time an animal loses a tag, every time a tag is replaced, the slaughter or death of an animal, or whether any animal is missing. Such events must be reported within 24 hours.

  9. I live in the UK and this almost puts me off having a child. Especially as I am salicylate sensitive and 5 fruit and veg a day would make me, and likely any child I have very ill. I can see it now!

    There's a lot of this faddy foodie nannying going on over here at the moment. It seems to be the latest media moral panic. It's bizarre to watch from the outside. Lots of people who don't know anything about nutrition telling other people who don't know anything about nutrition how to eat.

    Fortunately as Paul said above, our govt is rubbish at following through on IT projects, due to them being totally taken in by a big, useless software company that swallows all their cash and doesn't deliver on projects. We're likely to see a change in power within a couple of years, so hopefully this will be scrapped.