Over the last 30 years or so, tobacco use has consistently dropped in this country. Not because of some reality show or the First Lady. The causes of the decline are easy to identify: exorbitant taxes, advertising restrictions, public shaming and a massive communications outreach.
Let's stop treating obesity like it's some kind of medical condition that deserves sympathy. It's a public health menace and we must respond to it as such. If we view unhealthy food through the same lens as we've viewed tobacco, the solutions are clear:
- Add foods with no nutritive value to the "sin tax" category
- Restrict advertising of unhealthy foods (e.g., those that pass a certain threshold for fat content, sugar, chemicals, etc.) during children's programming
- Stop giving fat people a free pass on their addiction. Smokers pose a risk to those around them and their communities, as do the obese.
In short: let's stop pretending that obesity is a problem that can be overcome by hugs and charming British chefs and go on the offensive against obese people and their pushers.