Coyne: Get up, stand up. Stand up for your life

Kind of funny to see Andrew Coyne, one of our leading political commentators, with a small c conservative view of government, arguing for more regulation to change our sedentary habits. Or maybe he is being tongue-in-cheek in making side comments on soda bans. Wonder whether he writes sitting down or standing up? Quote:

I guess the question this raises is: are we serious? We claim to be concerned for public health, and yet we do nothing to prevent this silent, fatty carnage. We congratulate ourselves on banning jumbo soft drinks, when our chairs are the deadlier foe by far. We pass laws requiring seatbelt use, when sloth kills four times as many people as traffic. And why? Simple: money talks. Billions of dollars have been invested in the sedentary economy. They are not easily moved — not even at the cost of millions of lives.

If we were serious about public health, what would we do? Exercise, as I say, is scant remedy, and in any case it has proved difficult to get people to work out more. But it is comparatively easy to get people to sit less. I am not saying we should ban the chair, but we could certainly make them less comfortable. Regulatory cures are typically inefficient, but perhaps a seat tax might be in order, varying with the thickness of the cushion. We might also think of suing the chair manufacturers, to recoup some of the costs to the health care system.

Perhaps you will say that’s going too far. Tell it to the 5.3 million dead. Tell it to those suffering from diabetes, heart disease, and other ailments of inertia. When you count all the costs, it is clear that, as a society, we can no longer stand for sitting.

Coyne: Get up, stand up. Stand up for your life.

And a post by Dr. W. Gifford-Jones, somewhat provocative, on how new Americans (and expect new Canadians as well) quickly adapt to the fast food culture and become obese. Quote:

Unfortunately, like their fellow Americans, immigrants learn there is more to ill health than obesity. This single problem leads to diabetes, which in turn leads to hypertension, blindness, kidney failure, amputation of legs or coronary death.

So the greener U. S. pastures would eventually be not so green after all. They have become citizens of a country that spends vast sums on health care with little to show for it.

Before it is too late they might be wise to say, “The hell with life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Why wasn’t the U.S. honest and tell us we were about to descend into a medical hell as soon our family raised hands and swore allegiance to the United States of America. Our children may die before us. We should have stayed at home and lived longer.”

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Fattiness


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