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Paulette Delcourt: Bloomberg, Big Gulps, Broadway and the Obesity Debate

As long as government can tax obesity, why would officials ever be motivated to eliminate the problem?

This weekend, I was carrying a small book case up a flight of stairs when I realized it was too heavy to move any further. I was stuck mid-flight.

I yelled for help, but my pleas of desperation were not heard over the hormone-infused wails of One Direction and the Game of Thrones DVR recording; my 11-year-old son was in the basement patching software and trying to resolve something called a “chunk error” (nothing to do with ice cream).

There was no option but to give the furniture a big shove, and I lost my balance. No, I wasn’t crushed by a heap of imported laminate. I walked away with back spasms and a bruised ego.

I also learned two important things:  

1) One Direction does not sing one song that doesn’t contain the word “baby” and

2) My acupuncturist will be in business for years.

What was I thinking? I wasn’t.

In a moment of impulsivity, I forgot I couldn’t lift a bookcase just because a little voice in my head told me I was strong enough. It’s the same voice that convinced me that a Snickers bar is technically health food (nuts), and that if I drink Beaujolais I’ll be a skinny, proxy Parisienne.

It’s also the same voice that tells me it’s OK to stay up writing until 1 a.m. (nobody tells me to go to bed).

Yes, I have a few bad habits.

There is a lot of proposed legislation designed to curb everyone’s bad behavior. Most notably, Michael Bloomberg’s proposed ban on super-sized soft drinks.  

Science tells us soft drinks are linked to obesity. But saying soft drinks cause obesity is like saying beer causes alcoholism. A full bottle of Heineken is a paper weight. It’s not the substance, it’s the abuse.

New York Assemblyman Felix Ortiz (D) is an even bigger buzz kill. He plans to tax fatty foods and sedentary activities like going to the movies. 

Is Broadway next on the obesity hit list, or do jazz hands exempt shows from being a taxable, “sedentary” activity?

Obesity isn’t just about food, it’s often about behavior. (Yes, many medical conditions cause obesity, too.) There are lots of books, blogs and quotes about the power of “yes,” but “no” is just as important.

“No” keeps kids off drugs. “No, thank you” means dessert isn’t on the menu tonight.

“No son, it’s not safe to make a rocket out of gunpowder, Mountain Dew and Mentos.”

No, I won’t be doing any heavy lifting any time soon.

I’ll stop there. It’s late and nobody told me to go to bed.

Paulette Delcourt July 04, 2012 at 03:13 PM
Truly--and small farms are being regulated out of business. The regulations are in place to make more work for the government, not to help people. We must wake up out of our complacency and fight for our small farmers. I always cringe when I hear corporations are bad when they are patently enabled and supported by the politicians who take their donations. What small farmer could afford to buy a vote or influence policy?
Paulette Delcourt July 04, 2012 at 03:15 PM
I wish someone would follow the money trail to the government and see how what they say they are doing, and what is actually happening are two different things.
Paulette Delcourt July 04, 2012 at 03:19 PM
In "Tipping Point" Michael Gladstone discusses how and why large institutions collapse on themselves--it boils down to flexibility. Our government is expanding like the universe and will collapse into a black hole if we aren't careful.
Independence666 July 04, 2012 at 04:09 PM
Paulette, I agree that it would be a good idea if resteraunts would reduce their portion sizes by 30% but, at the same time, they must also reduce their prices by just as much.
Jim R July 04, 2012 at 06:10 PM
"Our government is expanding like the universe and will collapse into a black hole if we aren't careful." Seems to describe our congress with its ineffective committees.

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