Sunday, July 18, 2010

Soda Taxes and Toy-Less Happy Meals, Is This the End of Obesity....Ha!

Recently, the Mayor of San Fransisco proposed charging stores a fee if they sell beverages sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup; a soda tax.  The idea is to discourage consumption and fund programs to educate citizens about the role of sugar in obesity. In a similar "food police" move, the Center for Science in the Public Interest is threatening to sue McDonalds if they don't remove toys from their Happy Meals.  The Center for Science in the Public Interest claims that McDonalds markets toys to kids to build brand recognition and use 'pester power' on their parents.

So, am I in favor of these measures to curb unhealthy behavior and reduce obesity?  No way.  Both of these measures fail to address the root of the issue: personal responsibility.  If health is important for you, then you probably are reading this blog, educating yourself, and your family.  I equate obesity with financial health.  What do credit card companies do if you are not responsible with your spending and saving?  They penalize you.  They charge you fees and higher interest rates.  Does this encourage people to have better spending habits?  No way.  Credit card debt is higher than ever.  Spending habits and financial health need to be practiced every day.  I know, I am in no way financially extremely fit.  I could do a better job myself. 

I believe in personal choice, personal freedoms, and personal responsibility as an adult.  Educating citizens about the dangers of high-fructose corn syrup is a noble idea, but it is not the role of the government.  It is the responsibility of parents.  Eating at McDonalds is a choice, it is not mandatory.  As a parent, I have taught my kids about sugar and try to steer them in the direction of more nutritious foods.  It is not easy, nor is it a one-time affair.  It takes constant interaction, educating, and modeling.  If 18 years of teaching doesn't work, then what type of government campaign will work?  You are the parent.  To borrow a line from Bill Burr, "he doesn't have any money!"

I will let Bill Burr finish this post off because he is funnier than me!

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