David Frum makes a lot of people crazy. Republicans consider him an apostate, and I can't repeat the words my very left wing son says every time I do a post on him. But many Republicans today criticize Michelle Obama for her work on diet and obesity, think smart growth is a socialist plot to get Americans out of their cars, and most importantly, consider obesity to be a matter of personal choice or lack of ambition. Frum suggests otherwise in CNN:
If you as an individual want to change your weight, you must change your whole life. Likewise, to reduce obesity in modern society, we will have to alter the way society is organized.Weight gain is driven by two trends: increases in calories consumed and decrease in calories expended. Modern America induces both....
While Americans expend fewer calories at work, they spend more time in cars -- almost twice as much as in the 1970s. They spend 26 hours per week consuming TV or online entertainment. Americans could theoretically compensate for more sedentary lifestyles by stepping up their recreational exercise -- but only about 20% of Americans bother. Some 80% never do -- including presumably all those failed dieters.
Want to change this? It's no small project. It would involve the redesign of cities, the relocation of schools, the reinvention of our modes of eating and amusement.
Instead, we get pizza as a vegetable, the war on bikes and smart growth is a communist plot. More in CNN and Frum Forum, where he actually titles his post Obesity: Society Really is to Blame. Shocking.