Wednesday, April 19, 2006

It's Called Personal Responsibility. Get Some.

I have a post-in-progress about the things that are wrong with our society, and one of them is a lack of personal responsibility. This article from The Slate made me angry. Now that the government has made some headway with banning smoking, it has moved on to fighting obesity. It's fine to have programs promoting healthy living and to educate the public, but to regulate junk food sales and ban the use of trans fats? 1984 may not be so far off after all.

I can understand banning smoking in some public places, such as hospitals. But to ban it in a bar or in a person's car or outside on the streets is ludicrous. Everyone knows that bars are smoky; if you don't like it, don't go. Your car is your own personal property, and I understand that people throwing butts out the window is a problem, but perhaps cars shouldn't have stopped coming equipped with an ash tray then. Allowing smoking on the streets also creates the problem of dropped butts, and I understand not allowing smoking right in front of the door of a public building, but people can steer clear of the smoke if they choose to do so.

Banning trans fats is a whole other ballgame though. Secondhand smoke can allegedly cause health problems, but who else is obesity hurting? If I want to eat at McDonald's every day and weigh 500 pounds then that's my right. What seems to be forgotten is that there are healthy, fit people who are able to eat fast food in moderation. I see plenty of thin people at McDonald's when I go. Yes, there are people who have become addicted to junk food, but at the risk of sounding like a Republican, that's not the government's problem.

I know there's a link between the growing rates of obesity and the rising cost of healthcare, but people are always going to be obese. No government program or news story or warning label on a package is going to stop that. Good nutrition needs to start at a young age and needs to be reinforced by parents. Our "rush, rush" society looks to convenience food eaten quickly in the car in between baseball practice and piano lessons instead of taking the time to make a home-cooked meal that is eaten at the table by the whole family. The problem's roots go much deeper than people eating fatty foods, and fighting the symptoms isn't going to cure the cause.


Blogger Rusty said...

Eeek! I don't want people regulating my fatness! Except perhaps then I wouldn't be fat? That has a question mark because it's actually a question...said with much doubt.

That reminds me of the commercial with the little girl who calls herself "big" 4 times. She says her parents, her doctor, and her school got involved. Sheesh! Just leave the poor girl alone! If she gets fat (spoken as someone who DID) it's her problem.

I don't mind them banning trans fats though. They're just gross, and we shouldn't be eating them anyway.

4/19/2006 11:23 AM  
Blogger March to the Sea said...

the only issue is that a lot of people are eating this all the time and health costs just keep going up and up. A ban is a harsh term but letting folks really know what is in the item really helps!

4/19/2006 12:31 PM  
Blogger oMeSSiaHo said...

Mary, would you allow a kid to do drugs or drink? Yeah its her fault and decision but parents have a responcibility to make sure their kids dont do reckless things.

And to Jen, PREACH ON SISTA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!111

4/19/2006 3:19 PM  
Blogger Jenny G said...

I don't think trans fats should be banned though. That's the government overstepping its bounds. Yeah, that commercial bugs.

Chris, I think the point she is making is that the school and everyone got involved in that girl's life. Yes, her parents should have put the brakes on the bad eating. After all, they're the ones who buy the food in the house. And a lot of times harping on someone about his or her weight causes that person to eat more. You've never been fat.

March, I agree that trans fats should be on the labels (I think that started in January), but no banning should be happening.

4/19/2006 5:29 PM  
Blogger J. said...

I think the problem is that a few extreme cases lead to legislation that sucks for everyone. For instance, we had a number of teens involved in accidents--it happens everywhere--so now there's a law that a new driver can only carry one passenger other than a family member for the first 18 months of their full license.

That law is stupid. It actually punishes responsible kids for the jerks, and the jerks just ignore the law. Now, instead of taking one car to the beach, the five kids drive three cars, using more gas and probably being tempted to race there.

I disagree with the legislation of eating habits. Banning foods for fat content is scary. I also think you should be free to smoke in your car or on the street, though I do get annoyed with people turning a car into a nicotine hotbox while an infant is riding with them.

We've had no smoking in bars here for a number of years, and I have to say, I'd pretty much quit going to pubs and now I quite enjoy a pint across the road from my work. It hasn't hurt most bars, once people got used to it, and the employees don't have to sacrifice their lungs to earn their paycheque.

4/20/2006 12:21 AM  
Blogger Jenny G said...

Yes, as one of the former responsible kids, I think it's ridiculous to punish all for the actions of a few.

I think people should have the common sense not to smoke in the car with a child, but I'm living proof that it won't kill you.

I don't think I'd have any interest in a bar that banned smoking.

4/20/2006 2:02 PM  
Blogger katiedid said...

I think what pisses me off the most about it is that we're going to even more heavily regulate food and meanwhile we don't really do very well at actual food safety inspections still? I mean, the fda and usda has pretty poor funding for just monitoring our safety standards, and I'm way more concerned about THAT then banning this, that, or the other thing in food.

PS. I don't think it's a "republican" or "democrat" thing. I think sometimes people say things like that to other folks because they don't grasp the obvious complexity in our society that some philosophical beliefs that have nothing to do with a party at all. I'm on the same page here, and I think either of our party affiliations have exactly nil to do with that. No risk of sounding like a Republican or otherwise to me - you just sound like someone who believes in individual initiative and responsibility, which is pretty important. Um, but that's my two cents, and two cents doesn't get anyone a whole lot anymore, heh.

4/21/2006 11:42 PM  
Blogger Jenny G said...

I see what you're saying. That comment was partially tongue-in-cheek. I sort of want my cake and want to eat in too as far as government involvement is concerned.

4/22/2006 8:27 AM  
Blogger defiant goddess said...

I agree that banning trans fats is another ballgame. When you ban smoking, you are essentially banning the smoker, but to ban trans fats isn't necessarily to ban the overweight person.

Honestly, I don't know enough about the issue to say whether I'm for or against but I think if the FDA insisted on a healthier alternative, that would be a good thing - just like they regulate car emissions, chemicals in electronic components, etc.

I agree with your points on good nutrition. Obesity isn't caused by trans fats; it's caused by too much going in and not enough coming out. lol

Thanks for the ... uh, food for thought. :)

4/25/2006 9:50 AM  
Blogger Jenny G said...

I think it would be ok for the FDA to insist on a healthier alternative only if it tasted the same. It's too bad Olestra bombed because I thought those chips tasted just as good. There's always that nasty rectal leakage though! Although I never got that and I have the worst digestive system ever.

4/26/2006 9:48 AM  

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