Thanks to Don Boudreaux of Cafe Hayek for steering me to this excellent column by David Harsanyi of the Denver Post, Harsanyi: No Fat Kids! In it he discusses the methods used by politicians to change our lifestyles.
Michelle Obama — no doubt driven by the best of intentions — went on to take food manufacturers to task, asking them to “rethink the products” they produce because business, apparently, should be a clearinghouse for ethically sound groceries rather than a place that manufactures frozen pizza.
The first lady says there is a lack of “accessibility and affordability” as so many Americans reside in “nutritional wastelands” found in urban and rural areas (the latter, one gathers, filled with farms) with no access to supermarkets. “Some 23.5 million Americans — including 6.5 million children — currently live in food deserts,” claims the Let’s Move! site.
Harsayni counters effectively:
This fantasy quickly evaporates when one learns that the average American spends a mere 7 percent of his or her annual income on food (the lowest percentage in the world). That average person has an amazingly rich and diverse array of nutritious foods to [choose] from. In addition, it turns out that that there are very few “food deserts” in states that have the highest levels of obesity in the nation.
In Michelle’s mental model, obesity results from a broken system that spawns food deserts giving people little choice but to eat poorly and gain weight.
This isn’t that hard folks.
Obesity is caused by one thing: choices made my people to consume more calories than needed. There are not many choices that are more personal than the choice of what we put in our mouths.
I see rampant obesity in the customers of five supermarkets that are near my work and home that I frequent. None of these supermarkets have a shortage of nutritious foods. They have plenty of fresh produce, lean meats, canned fruits and vegetables.
If these people have ‘access’ to nutritious food, why do you think they’re obese? Personal choices.