To tackle obesity, we have to move beyond the paradigm of personal responsibility
By Elaine Watson
- Last updated on
One of the liveliest sessions on Sunday featured RAND Corporation senior scientist Deborah Cohen; Tracy Fox, president, Food Nutrition & Policy Consultants (FNPC); and the CSPI’s director of nutrition policy Margo Wootan.
Critics of attempts to restrict access to so-called 'junk' foods argue that it’s not the role of government to stop people making choices that could damage their health, or restrict the sale of something that if consumed in moderation, is not harmful.
And in theory of course, they’re right, said Cohen. Most of us feel we only have ourselves to blame if we are overweight or out of shape.
But when 97% of Americans fail to meet the dietary guidelines, and two thirds of the population is unable to balance energy in & energy out, you start to wonder whether the odds are stacked against us, said Cohen.
“If we are going to tackle the obesity epidemic, we are going to have to move beyond the paradigm of personal responsibility… We need to create the conditions in which people can be healthy.
“Most people lack the capacity to ignore or resist the current food environment and when we eat out we are routinely served more calories than we can burn.”