- The Washington Times - Monday, May 19, 2003

As if the government isn’t already trying to control every aspect of your life, it has now launched a program to determine what and how much you eat.

In her book, “Dependent on D.C.: The Rise of Federal Control Over the Lives of Ordinary Americans,” author Charlotte A. Twight writes, “Few things are more personal than health care, nor more alien to the legitimate functions of limited government. Yet few things are higher on the U.S. government’s agenda at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Step by step, the federal government is usurping power to substitute its medical judgements and therapeutic choices for those of individual patients and their physicians.”

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Having taken over much of the health system via Medicare, the cost of illnesses that result from smoking and now obesity has become a government concern. As such, the government has embarked on an effort to control individual lifestyle choices, as well as accusing the fast-food industry of causing obesity.

The lessons learned from Prohibition, the outlawing of alcoholic beverages in the 1920s, have not been learned and the result is the virtual criminalization of the tobacco industry and now, it would seem, the fast-food industry.

Nor are Americans aware that the newly proclaimed federal policy comes right out of the United Nations. The World Health Organization and the Food and Agricultural Organization issued a draft “Report of the Joint WHO/FAO Expert Consultation on Diet, Nutrition” that made the case that various restrictions must be imposed on everything from soda to snack foods in order to save the world from fat people. The U.N. report manages to ignore the estimated 815 million undernourished people in the world.

This is a plan to create an Orwellian world in which everyone is compelled to do what Big Brother tells them to do. The U.S. campaign, though couched in terms of obesity’s financial costs, is a subterfuge for yet greater control over our personal lives.

Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson was on television recently pointing the figure at the fast-food industry, urging it to “do what is right for Americans.”

What is right is the right of all Americans to determine what and how much they eat, and to be responsible for whatever consequences they encounter. This is not a public issue. It is a private one.

It is one in which the government should have no role nor say.

The absurdity of the new war on fat people is evident in the assertion — soon to be a nationwide environmental campaign — that housing-development plans are actually causing Americans to exercise less, thus contributing to obesity, diabetes and other disorders. This is pure junk science that defies common sense, but watch as Americans are told that suburban life is the new enemy and that it is killing them.

It is a hop, skip and a jump from telling Americans they are too fat to issuing regulations to insure they do not exceed daily food intake rules set by the government. It extends government control that now includes monitoring the right to smoke whenever and wherever one wants.

Getting fat or avoiding it is a personal lifestyle decision. It is not the government’s right, nor role, to determine. The new campaign, initiated by the United Nations, can lead to still further loss of freedom in the United States.

Tom DeWeese is the publisher/editor of the DeWeese Report and president of the American Policy Center.

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