Chris Field
The nannies in the federal government are determined to make you lose weight -- and they’ve created and manipulated a system to keep you under their collective thumb.

The March issue of Townhall Magazine features an exclusive examination of the government's attempt to further rule the lives of average Americans through their weight. That's right, the feds built and rigged a system that tell citizens they're too fat and that what they need is for the government to come in to tell them what they can eat and when.

You can read Helen Whalen-Cohen's full report, "You're Too Fat," in the newest issue. Here are some excerpts:



First, they came for the salt. Conservatives spoke out against the 2010 FDA decision to limit salt in food products, but the agency, empowered by a Democrat-controlled Congress and liberal White House, had no reason to listen. An FDA representative speaking under conditions of anonymity told the Washington Post that the agency was planning an initiative to work with food manufacturers to begin a “comprehensive phase-down” of salt in their products, with the goal of “embedding” changed tastes in the next generation. The new regulations would be open to public comment, but “administration officials [did] not think they need[ed] additional authority from Congress.”

Michelle Obama’s campaign against childhood obesity made waves when word got out that her pet project -- the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act -- authorized the federal government to regulate bake sales. On Dec. 3, 2010, the Associated Press reported that the legislation authorized the Department of Agriculture to write guidelines requiring healthier food on school premises. “The legislation would apply to all foods sold in schools during regular class hours, including in the cafeteria line, vending machines and at fundraisers,” the report explained. Although language in the bill permits the secretary of Agriculture to ban bake sales altogether, Secretary Tom Vilsack explained in a letter to then-House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller, D-Calif., that he did not plan to do that. Instead, the Department of Agriculture would determine how many “infrequent” bake sales to allow per school year. How reassuring.

If the authoritarians have their way, though, they will do a lot more than place an embargo on cookies. Perhaps the most Orwellian development took place during last summer’s confirmation hearings for then-Solicitor General and Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan. When asked by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., whether Congress could pass a law requiring all Americans to eat vegetables, her response was that it “sound[ed] like a dumb law.” But she could not find any constitutional authority to strike such a law down.

Food hysteria has reached a fever pitch. Time was when Congress and the courts tried to heed the constitutional requirement to stay out of citizens’ private lives. Now, troubled by our food choices, they are churning out laws, regulations and initiatives to nudge our diets in their preferred direction. The National Institutes of Health monitors (and determines what constitutes) national obesity levels. Agencies from the Federal Trade Commission to the Department of Agriculture are using their regulatory power to muscle food manufacturers around. Lawsuits abound. What this nexus of paternalism amounts to is that citizens have increasingly less say over what they ingest. How did we reach this point?

It started with a number: Body Mass Index, or BMI, measures the amount of fat in a person’s body by plugging his height and weight into a formula. It is the favorite tool of public health officials to gauge the health of a population.

BMI may be the go-to method for national surveys of body fat, but it says very little about personal fitness levels. Instead, it indicates a national average health scale, which people can then measure themselves against. “Calculating BMI is one of the best methods for population assessment of overweight and obesity,” the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website explains. “Because calculation requires only height and weight, it is inexpensive and easy to use for clinicians and for the general public.”

The ease with which BMI can be calculated (the formula essentially boils down to weight divided by height squared) makes it a great tool for surveying public health (and doesn’t require that anyone be prodded with calipers). That said, if a doctor ever recommends anything to you based on your BMI, you should run, not walk, away. ...

... The CDC is up-front about the myriad problems with BMI measurements. What it isn’t so forthcoming with is who determined what constitutes a healthy BMI or who had hands in whose pockets.

Find out who manipulated the system to their financial benefit, how they did it and what it means for Americans -- all in the March issue of Townhall Magazine.

You don’t want to miss this.

Chris Field

Chris Field is the former Executive Editor of Townhall Magazine.