This Just In: U.S. Obesity "Epidemic" Due Solely to Overeating!

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fat tax

Straight to the press release reporting the new findings:

The amount of food Americans eat has been increasing since the 1970s, and that alone is the cause of the obesity epidemic in the US today. Physical activity—or the lack thereof—has played virtually no role in the rising number of expanding American waistlines, according to research presented at the 2009 European Congress on Obesity in Amsterdam last week.

The finding is contrary to the widely held assumption that decreased physical activity is an equally important driver of overweight and obesity in the US, said lead author Dr Boyd Swinburn (Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia).

If Americans want to get serious about winning the battle of the bulge, they are going to have to cut down on the amount of food they eat, Swinburn, who is director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Obesity Prevention, told heartwire.

And whose fault is it that Americans are turning into porkers? The food industry, of course.

But, he warned, that won't be easy. "The food industry has done such a great job of marketing their products, making the food so tasty that it's almost irresistible, pricing their products just right, and placing them everywhere, that it is very hard for the average person to resist temptation. Food is virtually everywhere, probably even in churches and funeral parlors."

Well, as a Southerner I can tell Swinburn that there's very little food in funeral parlors, but post-funeral feasts, well….

So the implied solution seems to be that food industry must be forced to make their products tasteless and unattractive. Of course, some nutrition puritans are now agitating for sin taxes (as in "gluttony tax") as way to get us to step away from the all-you-can-eat buffets. 

Whole press release here