America: Eat Your Broccoli, Or Else

June 20, 2012

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Of course, you’ve probably heard that New York City is moving to limit the size of sodas and other sugary drinks that can be served in places like convenience stores or movie theaters.  It’s because New Yorkers, apparently, are way too heavy.

A few weeks ago, a town in Massachusetts moved to ban school bake sales.  And a school in North Carolina made a child buy a school lunch because her sack lunch wasn’t “healthy” enough.  Because out school children are getting too tubby.

And now another town in Massachusetts is moving to ban all soda from being sold in restaurants.  No more Mountain Dew with your Taco Bell.

It sounds ridiculous.  They’ll drag us kicking and screaming to these extremes.  But America, you are asking for it.  This is exactly what you want.  Don’t try to deny it.

Here’s why Americans actually want to be told what to eat.

People Can Make Their Own Bad Decisions

Most Americans who oppose government meddling in things like this say something to the effect of:

“Individuals can make decisions for themselves better than the government.  That’s what America is all about!”

Well, let’s face it.  It’s just not true in modern America.  Maybe when the pioneer spirit still coursed in our blood.  But not anymore.  Americans, it seems, make terrible choices for themselves.  We don’t care that a breakfast at Burger King contains over 1,000 calories.  People have always been attracted to things that are bad for them.  (So don’t believe that just because people want something, it must be in their best interests.)  If 32 ounce sodas are banned, it just means you’ll start to see people walking down the sidewalk, double-fisting 16 ounce sodas.

If our government makes bad choices, let’s just remember: our government reflects the people.

High Fructose Corn Syrup Is My Best Friend

The reason people don’t care about what’s in a McRib, or cigarettes, or alcohol, or any of the other things that kill us, is because we love them.  They are our friends and lovers.  They make us feel good when we are depressed.  They never say “no,” or “I have a headache” or “You need to take a shower.”

Most people don’t actually want to do the work of being healthy.  Being healthy is hard work.  We’d rather pop a pill that will keep us alive, so that we can keep making bad decisions.  Rather than doing the work of being spiritually healthy, we’d rather recite a magic prayer that will set everything right.  Rather than keeping ourselves mentally healthy, we’d rather chant some positive thinking mantra from a pop-culture science hack.

We always take the shortcut to immediate happiness and gratification.  And then we always try to take the shortcut to solving the problem we made for ourselves.

America: Eat Your Broccoli

I personally find the idea of limiting soda sizes and banning bake sales to be completely asinine and reprehensible.  Like the government knows what’s healthy.  Have you looked at the government’s guidelines for daily eating?  It’s impossible for a person my size to actually eat all those portions of every food group every day!  One more way to fight the man.

I think to myself, “Is this what you want, America?  You want the government to act like your Mom, telling you to eat your veggies, and changing your diaper?”

And then I heard, in ever so small a voice, the spirit of the American people answering, “Yeah.”

It’s like we’ve just given up on ourselves.

Believe me, this is just the beginning of the tidal wave.  If the healthcare law stays in effect, it will be a blank check for governments to make all kinds of new rules about how you can and can not kill yourself.  Remember when you were living at home as a kid, and you had to ask Mom and Dad for money?  The fact that they paid for everything gave them all of the control.

We resented the power our parents had over us.  But we don’t care now.  Because we don’t want to pay anything into our healthcare, or pensions, or anything else.  We think we’re entitled to it all.  Entitlement has a cost.  If you are entitled to a long, healthy life, someone’s going to have to force you to take your medicine.

What do you think about the food rules?  Have Americans proven they can’t handle making their own decisions?  Is this the only way to get us on track to being healthy and competitive again?

46 responses to America: Eat Your Broccoli, Or Else

  1. I, personally, think it’s “survival of the fittest.” Darwin is weeding out the sickly. Only the strong survive. Whether the government intervenes or not.

    But yeah…I think it’s ridiculous that the government feels like it has the right to make decisions like that. At least at the federal level, I’d say that it’s clearly unconstitutional (“all rights not specified here are ceded to the individual States” or something to that effect…too lazy to look up the exact quote…and the Constitution/Bill of Rights says nothing about the size of my soda).

    • Do you think Darwin will still work with the government sapping the fit, productive people dry, punishing success, and over-taxing?

      • Of course…because when the government collapses, only the strong (“strong” being defined as self-sufficient) will survive. Those expecting entitlements will be left to starve until they get off their butts and learn to farm (or otherwise support themselves).

  2. Interestingly a small soda in America is a large here in Europe! Though clearly that hasn’t stopped our own obesity levels soaring…

  3. Prohibition, anyone? Because that worked so well last time… [smile]


    • Yeah. It’ll be interesting to see if it’s a different dynamic since it’s not a moral movement.

      • Jason Cormier July 2, 2012 at 10:09 am

        I would argue it is a moral movement, at least to certain liberal factions. I mean seriously the First Lady is the leading champion of this movement. The think being fat and out of shape is immoral because other have to pay for it. But that is only partly true, other only have to pay for it if they are on government insurance. Your premiums only go up because of you, just like your car insurance.

  4. Tip of the iceberg.

    Matt, you are so right on that comment is unnecessary.
    (But here you go, anyway!)

  5. Sin itself proves that we make pitiful choices for ourselves! I think that some people actually like when someone else is setting firm rules that they can live by – aka some fundamentalist churches! It’s great not to have think for ourselves and let everyone else decide.

    I think it is odd that NYC bans the big soft drink the same month they decide not to prosecute dope smoking. Wow.

  6. That fact that soda is available, is going to make all the idiots in my now home state look stupid. They are decriminalized marijuana here, and are banning soda. ‘Nuff said.

    The problem with obesity is not only what we eat. (Yes, I know that diet is 80-90% of weight loss.) It is education. That’s right, we spend too much time educating our kids. We have homework for K-2nd. I never had that. They have science fairs in 2nd grade with real electricity and stuff. My first was in 8th grade. We’ve cut recess and gym time to make room for more academics so that we can keep up with Europe and India. (and health eduction, music and art)

    Then we send our kids home with throbbing brains to do more school work – primarily the 3 Rs.

    My daughter is 8, and she comes home with 30 to 40 minutes of home work 4 days a week, plus 4 projects a year. And she is completely bilingual. That’s jut public school!

    The good news for her, is that her dad and mom exercise in spite of their 55 hour work weeks. She plays hockey and runs track. We ride bikes, ice skate and take long walks as a family. She doesn’t have any video games, and is only allowed to play on phone when we need a little peace to finish a meal. She earns TV time by doing chores.

    The move to a sedentary lifestyle is the problem. I think we need to bring back some exercise for kids at school. Heck, even if they have to go all summer.

  7. If we expect government to take responsibility for our health and we think it is our right to have whatever medical treatment is available; haven’t we already given it the right to make these kinds of health decisions for us?

  8. Sorry in advance if I go too far afield here, but the healthcare bill was brought up, so here goes.

    I’m admittedly no expert on economics or politics or much else beyond my own experience, but in the few years that I’ve been involved with healthcare, these are a few conclusions that I’ve come to–

    1) Here’s why healthcare’s so expensive (and it’s not going to get any cheaper)–

    —-the ancillary staff that’s needed to keep up with billing and credentialing requirements of at least a dozen different insurance companies at the same time (along with Medicare/Medicaid)-most private practice docs can’t afford it

    —-”defensive medicine”. Neither party is even pretending to be interested in tort reform, so I think we’re stuck with that.

    —-the massive amount of futile hospitalizations, tests, and procedures that wind up being done during the last couple years of life, usually because the patient didn’t make their final wishes known to anyone. I can’t count the number of times that I’ve been asked to treat some poor soul that’s been stuck on a ventilator for years, sitting in an LTAC full of tubes getting colonized with ever more resistant bacteria. All because the family “wants everything done”. So the doctors are forced to keep “doing everything” (see above).
    And the last time this issue was discussed openly, nothing happened except all that freaking out about “death panels”. So I think we’re stuck with that, too.

    2) Free market forces don’t apply to health care. If you can’t afford a car, you have the option of saving up for one, buying a junker, or going without. You can’t do that when your appendix ruptures.

    3) Employer-based health insurance is more of a historical anomaly than anything else. Companies started offering it in the late 1940′s as a “perk” to attract workers during a labor shortage. It’s not going to get any cheaper (see #1), and trying to pay for it is only going to hurt businesses (especially small ones) more and more.

    4) People who are uninsured or underinsured are not lazy or trying to game the system. Trying to buy individual insurance is prohibitively expensive for most (I know, I’ve tried it.) And if you get hit with a catastrophic health problem, you’re pretty much screwed.
    I had a patient last year who seemed like a decent guy, worked construction and never missed a day. Didn’t have insurance because his employer didn’t provide it. Well, it turned out that the guy had undiagnosed diabetes. It was discovered when he developed necrotizing fasciitis in his neck from a bad tooth. He required multiple plastic surgeries and a 3-months hospital stay. Now he’s on the hook for all of it (actually, I think he had to declare bankruptcy and the hospital is going to eat the cost.) Any of you guys got any idea of how to help?

    With all this, I’ve been forced to conclude that the only solution to the healthcare crisis is going to be either 1) mandating that everyone buys insurance (which, in theory, ought to at least make private insurance cheaper) or 2) going to a European-style single payer system.

    Yeah, yeah, I know, that’s socialism and I’m a horrible pinko commie for saying it, and as soon as that happens the jack-booted thugs are going to start rounding us all up and force-feeding us arugula or something. Whatever. The thing is, the arrangement we’ve got now is not cutting it and it’s only going to get worse. If anyone’s got a better idea, I’d really love to hear it.

    • But how do you force everyone to buy something? The extension of the logic is the food rules – just force people to buy healthy food instead of crap.

      • I’ve lived in states where I’ve been required to buy car insurance.

        Like I said–any better ideas?

        • There are states in the USA where you DON’T have to have car insurance for your car?!!!

          • Yup. When I lived in Michigan I didn’t have to (I did anyway–and insurance rates were way higher there as a result.) I don’t know if that’s changed since I moved away.

    • There is more to it than that.
      -1 The poor are covered with various programs. The rich can certainly afford it. It is the gap folks like the worker you mentioned who cannot – or don’t seem to be based on other choices they make.

      -2 The Massachusetts system, which the Obama-care is based on is not self funding. It’s costs me, even with a 50% payed by my employer, just under $1000 per month for my family. $25 co-pays, and limits on optical and dental to cleanings/exam and some discounts on other stuff. Last year I spent $5500 out of pocket for medical expenses. This year I am already at $2000.

      -3 You are correct on tort reform. As long as there are lawyers, it will never happen. However; if we capped pain and suffering, or loss of life at $1M, we’d be getting some where.

      -4 I disagree on the end of life as a single contributor of high health care costs. The main reason is that it’s a business. At our hospital, I had a financial counselor come and talk to me before I had the heart cath last year. I am having congestive heart failure, and she is asking for a credit card number.

      -5 Here in a MA, free market does apply to health care. People have new cars, own homes, have TV’s, cable and cell phones. And a number of them don’t have health care. I also met a Canadian doctor on the way home from London a few months ago. I asked him how much he made (we were discussing the televised news in our respective countries – you know, the heath care is great in CA and everyone is the US is a gun owner). He makes $60K. Sure, he’ll be up to $110 after 12 years. He only has 6 more to go and it thinking of getting out to start a restaurant. I don’t blame him. I make more than he does.

      -6 The current bill is largely pay-offs to health care unions. It is possible that the health care industry needs a shake up like Detroit had to figure out the collective bargaining is one the largest factors in sky rocketing H C costs.

      I have written about the actual cost of the health care bill here. Everyone is going to pay regardless of whether it is constitutional or not.

      What’s better? Solid health education and the freedom to reject it even if it costs you your life.

      • Couple of things–

        4) Even if end-of-life care isn’t the biggest contributor (and I never suggested that it was the “single” one) it’s pretty big. I’ve seen folks that are in LTACs for months before they die-that entails round-the-clock nursing care, ventilator management, at least a dozen meds, and consultations from specialists. It’s not cheap. And as more of the baby boomers age, this population is only going to get bigger. Who exactly winds up paying for that?

        5) I was referring to actual health “care” in reference to the free market, not health insurance. Anyone can go without health insurance right now if they choose. Everyone WILL require health CARE at some point in their lives, whether they like it or not and regardless of their ability to pay. If you got in a wreck, I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t tell the ambulance to leave you by the roadside because you couldn’t afford a hospital stay.

        6) Which healthcare unions are you referring to? (Honestly curious). Doctors aren’t allowed to unionize. The only ones I know of are the unions for nurses, and God knows they need all the help they can get.

        My quick and dirty take on it is this-
        –the current system (with an incomplete patchwork of coverage) is unsustainable.
        –The Repubs had at least 8 years to deal with the problem but wasted most of that time bombing Iraq and protecting Terry Sciavo’s feeding tube.
        –Obamacare is not going to be any kind of magic bullet, but if everything tanks on it, I’m going to be holding both parties responsible. I wish more people would.

    • Ah, tort reform…..the happy dream. It would solve so many of the problems because everything would simply cost less! Maybe we need to elect fewer lawyers!

      • Hee hee–nice thought! Why is it that lawyers seem to be the only ones with the time or inclination to get into politics?

        • The rest of us have “real” jobs and are nice enough people to have families and friends!

          (My uncle is a lawyer…and that was going to be my excuse to stop the haters, but now that I think about it, he’s been married at least twice with some drug use thrown in, and isn’t even with his most recent girlfriend anymore…so….bad example? I’m sure there are good lawyers who have lovely families and oodles of friends.)

  9. This whole government intervention about what we put in our mouth is really freaky to me. When I was a kid, I had a real issue with protein. I didn’t like meat at all…I still don’t really. My conscience pings every time I eat it. But I loved peanut butter and so I ate it every day almost for school lunch. I knew children with peanut allergies, and those kids knew that they were NOT to eat peanut butter. Now, due to a very large number of helicopter moms, little Jimmy is completely incapable of learning that he can’t have peanut butter. Instead, the rest of the children shouldn’t be allowed to have it either. And when you see them argued against with the “your child should learn not to eat it” line, they retort about how peanut butter leaves oily residue on desks and playground equipment and some people can die just from touching the residue. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never once heard about a kid getting injured, let alone dying, from touching peanut butter or its residue. If I were in school now, due to a very very small minority of kids, I would be forced to not eat peanut butter at school and were therefore be very limited in my choices of foods available for me. Likewise, due to this fact, I would probably be forced to buy the school lunches, due to the lack of nutrition in my home packed lunches, and wouldn’t eat the school lunches, thus forcing a kid like me to starve. Starvation is bad for people too. And I know I was in a minority group as well, but it was my reality and I can’t help wonder about other kids who are like I was, because I know they exist.

    I know that wasn’t about soda, but it is just another example of the Government ignoring the massive issues it has (like, hey, why don’t you guys figure out a way to balance the budget…which actually IS your job…before you start trying to tell me what to eat, do, etc), and instead making small issues into these huge, scary, the children are going to die, issues.

    Regardless, it ignores scientific studies, which have actually (I know this is hard to believe, but really, it is true) linked the rise in childhood obesity, not to over consumption, not even to sedentary lifestyles…stick with me. But actually to sleep deprivation. That’s right! Kids are so busy now and so stressed, that they actually don’t get as much sleep as us older (20s-30s) folks did as kids. And that lack of sleep is actually causing their little bodies to release/not-release the right levels of hormones and they start to gain weight…along with a number of other health hazards from long term sleep deprivation. But instead of trying to solve the issue by trying to educate parents on the adequate amount of sleep that children should be getting or lessening the burdens of childhood (over-scheduling, too much homework, etc), they are trying to regulate us by telling us what our kids can and can’t eat. How long before kids are taken away for child abuse because they are caught eating a cookie? Or maybe the next step will be enforcing how much exercise children have to do a day, and charging parents with negligence for not making their kids ride their bike. After all, what the world really needs is more children in the foster care system, right?

    At the end of the day, the government is just doing what it always has…attempting to grasp for power and control via whatever means possible. It does so under the guise of being “for your own good.” And before you know it, they have way too much power and control. It is why revolutions happen. Though, I honestly think it is going to be a long time before most Americans wake up and realize that they are being played and shackled. They are too busy waging war against the Repubs/Democrats that they live next door too, due to those incredibly humongous differences that lie between them. Politics is corrupt…it has always been corrupt…as long as the world exists in its fallen state, politics will be corrupt. Love your neighbor….not a political party.

    • Actually, kids do die of peanut allergy. It’s not that common but it’s a pretty serious reaction (and not that hard to Google, I might add).

      • Maybe you could read what I wrote, sweatpea, instead of jumping to your own conclusions. Let me guess, you have a child with a peanut allergy and think peanuts should be banned from the face of the earth? I asked if anyone had heard of someone dying from TOUCHING (see that word) peanut residue at a school…not from ingesting peanuts. I’m not a moron. I know people die when they eat peanuts and are allergic. Good grief! But that is why you teach your children not to eat foods that you don’t pack for them, unless they KNOW they are safe. See…teaching children to be responsible for their own health is part of a job we like to call parenting. It’s been the way things have worked for eons. The story you linked to was a child ingesting, not touching, peanuts. And the whole thing seems fishy at best…the school not having an epi-pen, etc. If you’re going to stand on a soap box, and suggest I use Google like a good idiot, you need to at least read what I’ve written.

        • Look, “sweatpea”, you don’t know me and you know nothing about me. So take a chill pill and don’t start making assumptions about me or my kids, ‘kay?

          You were the one that said “I’ve never once heard about a kid getting injured, let alone dying, from touching peanut butter or its residue. “–as if anectdotal evidence is proof of anything. Kids with allergies die from touching peanut residue as well–there was a case all over the news a few years back of a kid that kissed another kid that had eaten peanut butter, then got anaphylaxis and died. It happens. It’s rare, but lets just say that when a little kid dies horribly from something that could’ve been easily prevented, emotions run a bit high.

          I wasn’t trying to say anything for or against banning the stuff from schools. Personally, I think the extent that a lot of schools go to is overkill. But what I was trying to say (before you went off on me) was this–

          –I think you’re minimizing the risk and/or are poorly informed about it. That’s my opinion and you can lump it if you want. If you’re looking for examples of regulatory overreach, you’ve got a whole lot of others you could choose from.

          –You’re tired of overblown regulations and “nanny state” stuff? Well, I’m more than a little tired of folks using every stupid little reason to freak out and convince themselves that they’re being persecuted. Christianity isn’t going to die out because the guy at Target didn’t tell you “Merry Christmas” and the country isn’t going to collapse into some kind of totalitarian state because a school banned peanuts. For heaven’s sake, that’s why school board people are elected–don’t like them, vote them out!

          By the way, no one calls me “sweetpea” without buying me dinner first :)

          • Well, yet again, kissing would result in ingestion, not “touching”. Yeah, their lips touched…peanuts got into the saliva and they swallowed it. Ingestion = horrible allergic reaction. That’s been established. Touching…this is what they are arguing. That the child touches the peanuts and dies. I just want a few cases. I mean, surely if this is perilous and horrible, there are going to be a few cases. Google hasn’t brought anything more than doctors “speculating” that touching peanuts can cause death for those severely allergic, but I don’t believe it. Sorry. Anecdotal it may be, but that’s because I have no proof to the contrary. I know lots of people who are allergic to peanuts. They are around children with grubby little peanut butter covered fingers and there is peanut residue all over the houses where the kids and grandparents live. My step-grandfather (if you will) is severely allergic to peanuts. He is around said children with their peanut butter covered hands and toys, etc, all the time. He’s never touched the remote and gone into anaphylaxis. Yeah, he’s one guy…but I’ve never heard of anyone having an issue to the contrary. Best I can come up with is that the person might touch the peanut butter and then get some in their mouth, but is that a reason to ban it in its entirety from a school, as has been done in most schools across America? Perhaps just putting a touchless washing station in cafeterias would solve the humongous issue of all these countless deaths that are occurring (or not occurring). You can say what you’d like about me being uninformed, but when a friend recently had part of her child’s lunch confiscated because it had trace amounts of peanuts in it (and it didn’t, because it was a food on the peanut “safe” list), I started scouring for any evidence that children have died from peanut allergy NOT related to ingestion. I haven’t found one yet. I don’t belong to the group of moms who feels I need to bubble wrap my child to prevent him from everything that comes his way. Some say that makes me callous and unfeeling…they accuse moms like me of not loving their child. If you would like to lump me there, that is your prerogative, but it wouldn’t make you correct. The world is not peanut free…it is not bad decision free. Parents are meant to raise their children in a world full of hazards and temptations, so that their child can make good decisions. To me, that means that if you happen to have a child with peanut allergies, you need to teach them to not eat things they don’t know are safe, to recognize the warning signs of an attack, to wash their hands before sticking them in their mouth, to not kiss people who just ate peanut butter, etc. That’s my belief, and there hasn’t been an argument to the contrary yet that has changed my opinion on the subject.

            And I am arguing my case from a very real standpoint. It might not be real to you. Maybe your kids are prize eaters and they had no issues with whatever you place in front of them. Good for you. My child isn’t old enough to tell yet…so far he eats very well. But I was severely limited in food choices as a kid. You may decide to get up on your chair of judgment and tell me what countless parents over time have told me…”If you were my kid, I’d have MADE you eat better.” Well, every time someone has said that to me, one very unkind response flickers across my mind, but I won’t give voice to it here. But picking a power struggle over food with me, was a battle no parent would have won….ever. I’d have rather been spanked, beaten, starved, or grounded than eat foods that I didn’t want to eat. So what happens if my child turns out like me? What happens if one of the few things he can survive on is peanut butter and, like it is currently, it is banned from all local schools? What happens if they force me to pack him lunches he won’t eat, day after day? What happens if they see me packing not nutritious enough foods day after day and force him to buy a school lunch that he refuses to eat? Maybe, because you didn’t grow up with my reality, you think the child will get over it or that really the parent is neglectful and should have their child taken away? Maybe you think my story is absurd and couldn’t possibly happen? I am telling you, it is a very real fear for me. God willing, my son will be the best eater on the planet and my concern will be for not. But what makes you think that it is unrealistic for me to be concerned about having child abuse called on parents whose children don’t eat enough to be considered healthy? It already is the case. It isn’t the stuff of apocalyptic fiction, it is a reality. I had teachers who called my parents and told them that they were abusing me, made threats, said they were going to take me away, etc…and that was in the 80s, when peanut butter wasn’t the hot button it is today and I actually had a good source of food in my diet. So please don’t tell me that my worries are completely unfounded and that I am making grandiose claims about things that could never happen. They happened to me, 20 years ago. I started having nightmares and wetting the bed again in 1st grade because the principle told me that they were going to take my mom and dad to jail and my baby brother and I were going to have to live on the streets if I didn’t shape up.

            As far as the crap about Merry Christmas, et all, I am not to be lumped into that bunch. I could care less. I’m not worried about Christianity dying or whatever. I would be considered ultra-liberal by most Christians. For heaven’s sake, I believe that gays can be Christians, can be saved and still gay, and should be allowed to marry. I don’t believe women are subservient to men. And I think Christians are some of the most judgmental people on the planet, as a rule. Maybe not because they are actually more judgmental, but largely because they are called to be better. I can be extremely judgmental, and for that, I am sorry. We can agree to disagree and I won’t call you sweetpea again, unless I buy you dinner first. :)

            And just because I like to argue…I think I am going to push for a ban of all outdoor recess at school when my son goes. His dad was highly allergic (deathly so) to bees and wasps. If he goes outside at recess, he might get stung, and it could be tragic. Sure, other kids might not have that problem, but it isn’t fair for them to get to go out to recess if my son can’t. After all, children’s lives are at stake and if you disagree with me, you must be a calloused old harpy who doesn’t love children. Plus, severe peanut allergies only affect about 0.6% of the population, whereas severe bee sting allergies affect about 2%. And about 10 people die each year in America from peanut ingestion, as opposed to about 50 a year from bee stings. Obviously bee stings are much more deadly and a much bigger threat to the children. I think I’ll go start making my signs…”RECESS KILLS!”

          • Meh, no harm no foul. I like to argue, too (obviously).

            Myself, I don’t have a personal stake in this (my kid doesn’t have allergy issues but attends school with kids that do) other than being a healthcare employee that has a tendency to get a bee in her bonnet about health misinformation. You can ask members of my family.

            Anyway, let’s just say no one wins the Internet today and leave it at that. Have a nice day.

        • I have a friend who has two children with a very real milk _contact_ allergy. No, not an immediate death, anaphalaxis kind of reaction, but still a very real and very painful reaction for her children (if they come into contact with milk, they get a very painful and itchy rash/eczema reaction). Does something have to kill someone to make their parents want to protect them from it?

          There are other nut butters that can be eaten. Yes, they’re more expensive, but there are alternatives. There are other protein sources altogether (beans, hummus, tofu, etc.). Also, you would not have starved from skipping lunch at school every day. There are at least hundreds of millions of people in the world who only _eat_ one meal a day. You would have done just fine with two, plus a snack when you got home.

          Having said all of that though, we avoid the issue altogether by homeschooling. I have near complete control over what goes into my kids bodies (at least at home) and what is and isn’t allowed in the house. I don’t want government intervention? I take my kids away from government-run entities. They still get my tax dollars for education, so it’s win-win.

          • So I guess that begs the question…..since her children have a very real milk allergy, shouldn’t she be out lobbying that milk be removed from all schools to protect her children? That is the issue here. It isn’t whether we should protect children…it is about how we do that. How do we protect children who are in the minority and not infringe on the rights of the majority. It is also about teaching our children to be aware of the very real things that affect their body, so that they know how to take care of themselves. Give me an item of food, and I can give you a handfull of children in the world who will die if they eat it. That is just the reality of the situation. Does that mean that we can’t have food at school? I don’t know if you heard the story of the 2 girls suffering major sunburns because the school wouldn’t let them use sunscreen without a doctor’s prescription. Even though several adults noticed the girls becoming horribly burnt, no one did anything about it. And why can’t they use sunscreen? According to the news site, it is because some kids might be allergic and get their hands on it and use it and have a reaction. Really? So you have 2 girls suffering on the right, and the POSSIBILITY of some kid accidentally getting hold of the product and suffering on the left. Which one is more important? Yeah, it seems fanatical at times to worry about it, but really, these are very real situations that affect real people and people need to be a little bit outraged that crap like this is going on.

            Also, it is a little bit calloused of you to tell me I wouldn’t have starved skipping lunch every day. Seriously? That’s your answer? “Sweetheart, we know you are only 6 years old and you are really hungry, but you just can’t eat lunch because some child might accidentally decide to eat your sandwich and could get sick from it. So instead, we expect you to take your little body to school and learn for 8 hours without any food.” Please. And comparing it to other nations where children don’t get to eat more than one meal a day, that’s just ridiculous. Just because people DO survive in those conditions, doesn’t mean it is ideal. It doesn’t mean they don’t suffer for it or because of it. You act as if they do it by choice…as if they do it because it is the most healthy option for them. If you came across someone who only ate 7 meals a week, would you also tell them to “buck up, cupcake” because some people survive on 4 meals a week?

          • I think that my friend has exactly the right balance of protecting her children while not imposing their way of life on everyone else. But with the rise of children being allergic to things, there is a rise in awareness and a rise in the need to do something about it. When I was a kid, a food sensitivity was almost unheard of (I’ll be 36 tomorrow). Nowadays, there are probably multiple children in a class with some type of food sensitivity and/or allergy. When circumstances change, rules have to change. Yeah, it’s inconvenient for those who don’t have sensitivities and/or allergies, but really….is your convenience worth their suffering and possible death? Really? As a believer, I’m told to treat others as I would like to be treated and to esteem others higher than myself. If I had a food allergy, I’d appreciate it if other people didn’t endanger my life or at least my quality of life simply for their convenience.

            You call me callous for pointing out that you had MANY options for proteins other than peanut butter when you were six (in addition to pointing out that you would have survived had you skipped lunch altogether – a point I made only because of your hyperbole that you would have STARVED had you been forced to stop bringing peanut butter in your lunch). I think the shoe is on the other foot here since you can’t seem to understand that these are very real issues for people. Your only concern seems to be for yourself.

            There are protein sources other than peanut butter that you could have brought in your lunch. At the very least the situation would not have “[forced] a kid like [you] to starve.”

    • Oh, and maybe before everybody gets their collective panties in a wad, may I point out that these laws are being passed at the LOCAL level? Sure, they’re pretty ridiculous–as a result, the likelihood of them getting passed at a federal level is slim to none.

      Think about it–even with “the libruls” supposedly running everything right now, Congress is gridlocked to such an extent that budget issues (which everyone agrees are probably more important than whether or not Cletus can buy his Big Gulp) are just barely getting passed at the very last minute. Even in the most liberal government in the universe, do you honestly think that the FEDERAL government is going to have the time or the political capital to ban all the peanut butter in the US? Is this seriously what’s keeping you up at night?

      Mayors and local governments enact stupid bans like these all the time because it gives them something to talk about when they campaign. You know what the solution is? It’s suprisingly easy–you suck it up until election day and you vote them out. Seriously. You don’t have to start building that apocolypse bunker yet.

      You might want to look up “reductio ad absurdum” or the “slippery slope fallacy”, by the way. Here’s a link.

      • Perhaps you should look up “strawman” and “ad hominem”. Or maybe I can’t argue that from under my apocalypse bunker?

        • You’re the one that went right from soda bans to charging parents with child abuse for giving their kids cookies. Don’t tell me how to argue.

          • And don’t tell me how to “google” Abby. You’re the one defaming arguments and characters. Get over yourself.

  10. No Mountain Dew? But I’m sure coffee and alcohol are okay. That’s bull poop.

  11. Wow.

    As a Health Promotion grad, I’m all for healthier choices. I’ve been to the USA three times, and I was totally sickened and appalled at the portion sizes in restaurants (and that was the small ones). I do not however, agree with doing things like ‘banning’ bake sales or fizzy drinks (soda).

    A few reasons why.

    1. I have friends with cystic fibrosis. They actually need to eat fatty foods to stay alive. Things like a packet of salty crisps is something they need to eat pretty regularly. If schools ban those kind of foods, what do the kids with CF do? What does the diabetic kid do when they have a hypo and they aren’t allowed to carry a bottle of cola or lucozade or a mars bar with them for such an instance?

    2. I love baking. I hate processed foods. Actually baking properly (NOT from a cake mix packet) can help people learn how to cook other things too. And a cake every now and then isn’t going to kill you. Plus you don’t have to bake unhealthy things either.

    I will however say I’d be fine with the idea on banning the 32oz portion cups. There is no need for those, and I’d say it encourages moderation. It’s a bit like you can have alcohol but only at a certain age (and bartender can refuse to serve you if you are drunk) or having limits on the amount of sodium put in foods and so on. I don’t see a problem with governing that. It still means someone can have a beer or a cake or a soda!

  12. Wow! This seems to have diverged between a government/healthcare debate and an obesity debate.

    Regarding the looming nanny-state which we seem to be heading toward, I provide this quote:
    “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
    John Adams (The Works of John Adams, ed. C. F. Adams, Boston: Little, Brown Co., 1851, 4:31)

    I just finished reading through Deuteronomy, in which Moses lays out before the people all of God’s rules and what will happen to them when they turn away from him. And it all comes down to either following God or becoming slaves. This would bear out John Adam’s thoughts.

    Obesity has many root causes, not just one thing. In fact, all those who determined the “one thing” causing obesity, I believe are right. I have lost almost 25 pounds in four months because I am sleeping longer, working out more, and avoiding the pre-packaged, chemical additivies disguised as food like the plague and cutting down on sugar and carbs, though not eliminating them. Lack of sleep leads to fuzzy thinking, need for energy boosts (supplied most quickly by sugar) and a decreased desire to further deplete the energy levels by exercise. The last two are the result of fuzzy thinking.

    My favorite quote, even though I don’t completely agree with her stance on the government health care issue, comes from Abby Normal:
    “Free market forces don’t apply to health care. If you can’t afford a car, you have the option of saving up for one, buying a junker, or going without. You can’t do that when your appendix ruptures.”

    My question is if insurance is one of the problems, why is different insurance going to solve the problem? Yes, one insurance provider will theoretically simplify the paperwork involved because it will consolidate the rules. However, you will still have more than one person to deal with and different people might interpret insurance codes differently. Maybe all we really need is something like the equivalent of collision coverage, where insurance only pays for catastrophic illnesses, like what your construction worker is dealing with, rather than the equivalent of comprehensive coverage.

    I also agree that torte reform is badly needed.

    • The deal with the insurance billing is that each company has their own set of codes and requirements for how they’ll reimburse. When you accept 10-12 different insurance companies, plus Medicare, it becomes increasingly complicated.

      Insurance codes aren’t really interpreted by medical people-you pretty much list number X for a visit or procedure, and the insurance company gives you Y amount of money. Where the billing staff at the office come in is they look over all your notes and make sure that everything you did during the patient encounter allows you to list code X–those requirements are different for different insurance companies. Over-or under-billing can cause you to lose money, or even face fraud charges if it happens a lot.

      I had a dermatologist that I rounded with as a resident tell me that he had to hire 3-4 coders for his office just to keep up with the billing for the various insurance companies, but if he were only to accept one type of insurance (or if single payer were in place) he would only need to hire one person. (Actually, he was kind of wishing to go to a cash-only setup and not have to deal with insurance at all, but he made a lot of money doing botox injections and could probably get away with it.)

      • I definitely see the problem with different standards. It is kind of like different DVDs or VHS machines used to have different ways to program and plug into the TV at one time. And then there was VHS vs. Beta, which were different formats that didn’t speak to each other. Or in today’s world, my Apple products have a different connector than my old phone for charging purposes and even a different. However, eventually, the electronics industry standardized on DVD I/O and connecting systems and we are all better for it.

        So why not require insurance companies to standardize their codes and procedures for reimbursement instead of having the government take on yet another role that is not in their job description, nor part of their core competency? Establishing these types of regulations is not outside the powers of Congress. It probably isn’t the single solution to our medical problems, but big problems are solved by taking baby steps, right? The next step is getting everyone to agree that hamstringing lawyers, I mean setting up torte reform laws is in EVERYBODY’s best interest. My original ob doctor, who was a family practitioner, got out of the ob business because malpractice insurance rates were increasing well beyond the rate of inflation and they were losing money. He did not like to make that decision.

        BTW, the problem with your car insurance analogy is that while states require that everyone who drives a car is insured, they don’t offer state-run car insurance plans, nor do they specify exactly which type of car insurance you have to have, allowing people who can’t afford comprehensive insurance to buy collision only. The healthcare bill passed is getting the federal government in the insurance business, (not that it isn’t already with FDIC and other loan insurance programs).

        Another question: would doctors every consider giving patients a discount for paying with cash and eliminating the middleman, I mean insurance companies?

        Sorry if this seems disjointed. I am thinking more randomly today.

        • A lot of practices (including the group I work for) offer a “cash only” discount, with a bigger discount for folks that pay their bill all at once.

          The problem with that is that that still leaves a lot of stuff that no average person will be able to afford out of pocket–they might be able to handle the cost of a doctor’s visit, but not the ancillary testing that the doc might order or medications. It gets especially onerous for people with chronic medical conditions like RA or diabetes. I see folks for HIV and I always have a few that are “self-paying”, if they have no insurance and don’t yet qualify for Medicare, and it stinks. They can usually afford the office visit, but can’t afford genotyping (which I usually need to get before starting meds), or can’t afford meds if I do decide to start them. So I’m basically left saying, “Here’s what I think you need, we’ll get this started when you’re able to afford it.” Self-pay works great if you’re a healthy 20-year-old with nothing else going on, not so much for anyone else.

          One theory I’ve heard has been that if at least everyone was mandated to get insurance, more cheap-ass insurance companies that provided “basic collision coverage” would spring up, and more people would afford it. Depending on what happens with the Supreme Court, that probably won’t happen. (The beauty part is that the individual mandate idea was originally a Republican one, I think even GWB had suggested something similar at one point, but now that a Democrat is trying to pass it it’s all ‘OMG socialism’.)

          Also, the insurance lobby is big enough that your idea of standardizing them probably wouldn’t fly either–at least not without a lot of them conveniently raising their rates to cover the expense of switching their systems!

        • Most places (hospitals, doctors, etc.) will give you a discount if you a) ask, and b) offer to pay in full in cash. That’s how groups like Samaritans Ministries work for the most part.

          Also, my kids’ pediatrician stopped taking any insurance at the beginning of 2011. She had waited a year and a half to get paid for my kids annual well-child visits (and that was after MUCH harassment of the insurance company by myself and her office), and I only represent three of her patients (two at that point). I don’t think her rates are any cheaper right now, but she’s cut down on staff. Not sure if that’s due to the number of patients she lost when she did that or due to how much easier her billing is now.

  13. It is easy for anyone to be unhealthy. When was a kid, they mandatory gym classes and no one wanted to stay home doing noting! No we are teaching to the test, and kids need all this entertainment. It’s just different. Everyone needs exercise, why don’t we legislate that?