Turns out the federal government wasn’t satisfied with merely encouraging us all to become fatter through their dietary advice and grain subsidies. Nope, that wasn’t nearly intrusive enough. Now they want to track our BMIs and tell us how fat we are.
Some states are already getting into the act by sending BMI scores home on kids’ report cards. No, I’m not kidding. I really, really wish I were kidding, but I’m afraid it’s true. Check it out:
Apparently, the state governments believe parents whose kids are overweight are unaware of the fact. So you see, if we can just get the schools to inform the parents, they’ll wise up and put those fat little tykes on a diet.
It’s the same old, tired, failed confrontation theory: first tell people they’re fat, then shove the calorie counts in their faces whenever they go to buy food anywhere, and they’ll stop being such gluttons. It doesn’t work, but governments keep trying. After all, whenever they see a problem, politicians feel an irresistible urge to do something! Whether or not that something will actually work doesn’t seem to matter.
The BMI report card idea has already been tried, by the way. Arkansas began mandating BMI scores on report cards back in 2003. So how much of an effect has the state’s intrusion had on the kids’ weights after seven years? I think you can guess: none. The program is failure.
But since we’re talking about government, failure is simply an excuse to do the same thing again, only bigger. So now the federal government is getting in on the act. A section of the “stimulus” bill requires doctors and hospitals to track everyone’s BMI electronically and report it to the federal government beginning in 2014.
If you can figure out how forcing hospitals to waste resources tracking my BMI stimulates the economy, please explain it to me. (And if you thought the monster “stimulus” package and the monster health-care bill were great ideas, just wait … nobody in Congress read those beasts before voting on them, and we’re going to eventually find out all kinds of new government intrusions were included in them.)
Given the failure of mandatory BMI scores to inspire weight loss, you might wonder what kind of idiot — aside from the elected variety — could actually think this is a good idea. Here’s what kind of idiot:
As you can see, Meme Roth is still disguising her disdain for fat people as a financial issue. If you’re fat, it costs her money, doncha know, so now it’s her business. That’s a load of bologna. Our neighbors just had their fourth child. We have two. I did the math, and they’re going to cost the public school system roughly $200,000 more than we will, while receiving two extra tax deductions. That doesn’t make the size of their family any of my business. And as I explained in detail in a previous post, the idea that fat people cost “society” more than healthy people is a myth anyway.
It’s also a myth than everyone with a BMI of over 25 is unhealthy, or even overweight. Meme says BMI is only inaccurate for professional athletes and body-builders. Oh, really? If you’ve seen Fat Head, you’ll recall the scene where Dr. Eric Oliver informed that according to the BMI standard, he’s overweight. I had the guy stand up, and he’s about as lean as you can get.
My current BMI is 28, but there’s nothing wrong with my health. And as far as I know, Tom Cruise, Mel Gibson, Brad Pitt and George Clooney aren’t professional athletes … but they’re all overweight according to the BMI standard. (Tom Cruise and Mel Gibson are actually “obese.”)
When Meme pulled out a copy of the Constitution to justify further government intrusion, I was inspired to song. The lyrics went something like this: Meme, you incredible @#$%ing idiot! Try actually reading the Constitution sometime!
Yes, of course the Constitution doesn’t require anyone to pay the cost of someone else’s decisions. Nor would it allow the government to force hospitals to assist them in tracking everyone’s BMI. The only reason we’re “all paying” for everyone else’s bad health habits in the first place is that Congress violated the Constitution when it forced taxpayers to support socialized medicine.
If we want to lower the financial burden that “everyone pays” for obesity, let’s get the government out of the health and nutrition business. Allowing them to insert themselves ever more deeply into our lives isn’t the cure. It’s the problem.