Sunday, 10 June 2012

Let us eat cake

The Association For Psychological Science recently published a new theory on the cause of obesity. First off though is the introduction to the piece, which interestingly enough claims that the cause of obesity, at least in the US, is unknown. Makes you wonder why we have government obesity policies in that case, but here's the intro:-

Everyone knows by now that the U.S. is in the midst of an obesity epidemic, but for all the hand-wringing, nobody really knows why. Experts have offered many theories about why Americans eat too much—and especially too much fattening food—but these remain theories. It’s because Americans are ill-informed about diet and nutrition. We simply do not understand that double cheeseburgers are loaded with fat and calories. Or it’s because we’re constantly bombarded with stimulating ads for tempting but unhealthy snacks. Or we simply lack the self-discipline of earlier generations. Or all of the above. 

The explanation offered is that we are being conditioned by modern life to live for the present, to seek calories as a survival tactic aimed at coping with an uncertain future. In other words, calories cause obesity which we knew already, but seeking those calories may be a basic survival response to uncertainty and confusion..

The world can seem like a competitive and unforgiving place these days, with so many people out of work and the economy struggling. All Americans have to do is turn on the TV to get daily reminders of the world’s cruelty and suffering. While it’s not clear just how these findings might translate into strategies to undo this daily priming, it may not be enough to simply inform people about the calories and nutrition in this or that food—and expect them to make disciplined food choices. 

One delightful aspect of this explanation is that government nagging about obesity is partly what causes obesity. Puts a damper on David Cameron's liking for so-called nudge theory doesn't it? 

If this explanation is plausible, then in a wider sense, constant hectoring from government, mainstream media, fake charities and professional health lobbies are all causing obesity. The solution is simple.

Stop nagging - or the cake gets it! 


Sam Vega said...

Nudge Theory, or Fudge Theory?

Sam Vega said...

....And another thing!

No government with Eric Pickles in it can credibly lecture or nudge the public about obesity.

A K Haart said...

Sam - Pickles rather lets the side down doesn't he? He'll never be Health Minister. I wonder if he smokes?