Unhealthy Levels Of Federal Spending On Obesity

Unhealthy Levels Of Federal Spending On Obesity

Senators’ Efforts Play Into Hands of ‘Ban the Big Mac’ Crowd
July 30, 2002

Washington, D.C., July 30, 2002—The Competitive Enterprise Institute is condemning efforts to expand government powers and budgets as part of an effort to harass Americans into losing weight.  New programs being announced by Senators Bill Frist (R-TN), Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), and Christopher Dodd (D-CT) would begin a costly process that could lead to lawsuits, excessive regulation, and less consumer choice.

While ostensibly a plan to fund studies on obesity and similar projects, the proposals being announced today are similar to an evolving political movement to demonize certain kinds of foods and penalize their producers for consumer health problems.  These programs could contribute to and be used to further the irresponsible premise that manufacturers, rather than individuals, are to be blamed for consumers’ weight problems.  

“Congress should be focusing on terrorism, not teenagers and Twinkies,” said CEI General Counsel Sam Kazman.  “Of course there’s a problem with unhealthy appetites and uncontrolled cravings in this country, but it’s the appetite of the federal government for ever more programs and the craving of the bureaucracy for more power that’s the problem.”

The plan would increase federal control over local school decisions regarding nutrition and health programs, decisions that are best made by the state and local educations departments that would actually be implementing them. It would also further centralize Americans’ information about dieting and nutrition at a time when health professionals have been seriously questioning the validity of the guidelines that the federal government has been feeding Americans.

CEI is a non-profit, non-partisan public policy group dedicated to the principles of free enterprise and limited government.  For more information about CEI, please visit our website at www.cei.org.