|In the U.S., "a few extra pounds" might mean . . .|
As luck would have it, the very next day after my post ran, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued its Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, and the Advisory Committee made one of the same recommendations I did. In Part B, Chapter 2, of the report, the Committee recommends:
Implementing economic and pricing approaches to promote the purchase of healthy foods and beverages. For example, taxation on higher sugar-and sodium-containing foods may encourage consumers to reduce consumption, and revenues generated could support health promotion efforts.It seems obvious that good public policy is to tax things that are harmful to the public and subsidize things that are beneficial, not the other way around. As it is now, we subsidize corn, for example, which ends up as
But I was remiss in not pointing out, in my original
- Obese women (BMI > 40) in occupations that involve interacting with other people earn about 5 percent less than their normal-weight counterparts, according to a study by Jennifer Shinall of Vanderbilt University Law School in Nashville, Tennessee. Studies have consistently found that overweight adults earn less than their normal-weight peers. Overweight workers are more apt to miss days of work due to health issues; they get fewer promotions; etc.
- Minority and less-educated workers are more likely to be overweight, compounding the wage difference that already hampers those groups in the workforce. (Black workers are almost 1.5 times as likely to be obese as white employees.)
- A billion additional gallons of gasoline are consumed each year transporting overweight and obese Americans, according to research from Sheldon Jacobson and Douglas King at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. (Ever wonder why airlines charge extra for luggage now? Americans are heavier than they were just 20 years ago.)
Wouldn't you agree?
You can help. Please join me in submitting your comments on the Committee's report at http://www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/dga2015/comments/writeComments.aspx. The comment deadline in April 8. I've submitted my comments, and if you live in the U.S., I strongly urge you to do likewise. Please tweet the link.
I've made some improvements to my Twitter timeline-scraping code and can now thank even more people for retweeting me. The following list (of people who retweeted me yesterday) might still not be 100% complete, but it's more complete than it would have been with my old code. (Please follow the folks shown below. They retweet! Click their pictures; the pics are live links.)
Have you added your name to our mailing list? What the heck are you waiting for, a personal invitation from @TheTweetOfGod?
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