May 11, 2021

"Under the new junk food controls, people will be rewarded with shopping vouchers for losing weight and exercising more under a 'fit miles' incentive scheme to encourage healthier living...."

"[T]he Queen’s Speech promised a 'total ban online' for junk food. Food companies will be limited to factual claims about such products, such as price, ingredients and nutritional content, and will be unable to publish sponsored social media influencing about cakes, sweets, burgers and other unhealthy foods. Paid-for displays, web searches and promotional emails and text messages will also be banned. Advertisers believe that all social media posts about unhealthy products could be banned, although details have yet to be set out.... Critics say advertisements for avocados, smoked salmon, hummus, butter, cheese and some fruit could be banned if the rules are drawn too tightly."

From "Queen’s Speech includes ban on online junk food ads to curb obesity" (The London Times). 

Here's the text of the speech. She actually refers to "obesity": "Measures will be brought forward to support the health and wellbeing of the nation, including to tackle obesity and improve mental health." 

Do American politicians ever tell us we're too fat? I think not, even though obesity has been a huge factor in coronavirus deaths. They're so much more comfortable telling us how close we should be to our loved ones than broaching the big bigness topic.


Ann Althouse said...

JPS writes:

Dear Prof. Althouse,

Does Mike Bloomberg count? I don’t think he ever exactly said, “New Yorkers, you need to lose weight,” but his soda-control program was in the right spirit.

Leaning libertarian (small-l), I see the conversation like this:

Scolds: You all need to lose weight.
Me (hypothetically, as I’m pretty fit): What possible business is that of yours?
Scolds: Well, we’re going to be paying for your health care.
Me: But I don’t want you to pay for my health care!
Scolds: Too bad. We have to.

But yes, obesity is a huge factor in coronavirus deaths, while the messaging really is bifurcated between “big is beautiful too!” and “for your own good, let us tell you what you should eat and how much."

With best regards, and thanks for many years of thought-provoking reading,


Ann Althouse said...

Paul writes:

Ann, I don't know how far you personally like the idea that our politicians should
be tougher -- even rhetorically -- on us obese people. Maybe you were just comparing their comments on
physical closeness to their not-talking about obesity. Maybe (I hope) you meant we don't need hortatory rhetoric from politicians about EITHER physical touching OR our eating habits.

But I read your post differently -- as if you are encouraging politicians to censor what I eat
and turn the "bigness issue" into a pretext for another endless "war" on something. Believe me, we fatties do NOT need government to tell us we should be thinner. Everything we see around us in advertising, films, etc. tells us that -- not to mention our physicians, friends, etc. Do you think at this point in history, fat people do not know their obesity is a health risk to them? That's pretty condescending. Do I really need Joe Biden to tell me to cut down on the ice cream and the French fries? Why would you think so?

There is no knowledge gap here. People are fatter than they "should be" for many reasons.

None of them, however, are the government's business. Fat-making foods provide, for some, a measure of comfort and solace in an otherwise bleak life -- you don't like government rules or rhetoric telling you not to embrace or whatever; many fat people don't have other humans in their life, so what WE want/need as solace are other things. Even things with 900 calories per ounce. So what?

Didn't women spend a lot of time and effort establishing that a woman's body is her own?
Does that principle, which is now of constitutional proportions, not extend to Ben & Jerry's or eggplant parmigiana?

I just think the communication should have been there. Once they were talking about how we should protect ourselves, they should have plainly stated that obesity is a big risk.

Ann Althouse said...

Randy writes: "My first thought on reading your post was, "let them not eat cake." The original phrase, "let them eat cake," was supposedly a royal's retort to the complaint that French peasants had no bread, so I suppose a better version now would be "let them eat bread." That version, however, would have dropped the word, "cake," which is so important to recognizing the phrase."