If Being Thin is Green, Should the Government Have a Say Over Our Weight?


Photo via: didbygraham

Some people will say this is preposterous, but let's think about it for a minute. If it is reasonable for the government to control the vehicles we drive, control the percentage of taxes we pay, whose to say they shouldn't also control the quality of food going into our mouths.Obesity vs. Environment Studies
Some folks would tell you that you could pay any old schmuck in a white lab coat enough money to find evidence for just about anything you want, but when several of those folks begins to come up with the same results, people start to take notice. The idea of overweight citizens creating a bigger drain on the environment is nothing new.

A team of researchers back in 2006 by the names of Jacobson and McLay, presented a model showing how the average person in the U.S. now consume 938 million gallons more gas due to their increase in weight. That's an increase of about 21 percent more fuel than 50 years ago.

Another study, the Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment Study, became a little bolder in their accusations. The research claims that not only do Americans use one billion additional gallons of gas a year due to their weight, they are also solely responsible for a 0.5% increase in carbon dioxide emissions every year.

Recent Studies
Recently in the news, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) published a study outlining the over sized carbon footprint that overweight people impress upon the environment.

The reasoning behind the new research at LSHTM states that it takes more energy to move a larger individual, so therefore more fuel is used during transportation. Okay, we've heard this tune before, so maybe there is some truth to it. The question is, what should be done about it?

Government's Role in the Battle of the Bulge
We already have new food pyramid guidelines and health campaigns, such as California's Be a Lunchbox, which promotes the benefits of a healthy balanced diet. But over their history, these have so far do not appear to be the answer to the problem of obesity in the U.S.

Another thought is to have the government step in and take an active role is helping reduce the weight of Americans. This would force them to become healthier and less of a drain on Mother Nature. The beginnings of this were embedded in the Fast Food Tax, which has been proposed before.

The tax would be no different than an alcohol or cigarette tax, but it would open the doors to the government taking a more active role in what we eat. So my question to you, is has the American weight problem and carbon emissions escalated enough to where we should start to crack down on the problem through government incentives, or is this too much of an infringement on personal choice?

More on Obesity
You Are Where You Eat
Japan's War Against Weight
Big Surprise: America's Fittest Cities are Also Most Walkable Cities

Tags: Alternative Energy