Ambassador of Quan and the Battle of the Bulge

Rarely does the opportunity present itself when two movie references work into the same line and this is one of those instances. A curious title and you may be asking yourself, “How do these two go hand-in-hand?” Well, I will tell you, so sit back and enjoy a bit of logical and debate from my different perspective...

It is no secret, no hidden agenda that just as there exists the anti-tobacco establishment, there are equally-omnipotent moral busybodies with like, parallel agenda from other consumer products - here I am talking about “food.” The “nutrition battle” is nothing new. For longer than I may recall, governments and health advocates have worked hard in educating the general public about a “good diet.” In grade school we all learned about the basic food groups and encouraged to strike a moderate balance in our consumption - not directed, not mandated, but encouraged. More vegetables and meats than sugars, more dairy than sugars. Now we have the U.S. government’s somewhat new “Food Pyramid” giving us a fresh visual representation of how to eat healthy. But to many in the anti-food establishment, that is just not good enough. In major cities, certain gourmet food ingredients have been banned from being served or incorporated into particular dishes. Other local governments have gone as far as requiring restaurants to serve a specific amount of vegetables relative to the serving of meat for each meal prepared. There is even a national group that has long advocated for a Surgeon General’s Warning to be places on non-diet sodas because the high-sugar-based contents may lead to obesity and ultimately Diabetes. The latest from the absurd file - another national group is calling for a lawsuit against hotdog and sausage makers due to their claims that some ingredient added in the process may cause cancer, so they too would like their own Surgeon General’s Warning on those products.

And just last week, the Centers for Disease Control organized and hosted the “Weight of the Nation” conference. At this conference, New York’s Health Commissioner, Dr. Thomas Frieden, suggested that obesity in the United States be attacked with the same tactics as the health establishment’s war on tobacco - excise taxes on foods and beverages with little to no nutritional value, and aggressive public awareness and education programs. Coinciding with the conference, the CDC released its study on America and Obesity that claims obesity costs the medical costs associated with obesity hit nearly $150 billion in 2006.

Looks like fat people will join tobacco consumers as the new “ambassadors of Quan” as state and local governments collectively chant, “Show me the money!” just as Rod Tidwell demanded of his sports agent, Jerry Maguire.

As states cannot cure their own voracious appetites for overspending, new revenue streams will surely be tapped to cure their own obese budgets. Move over Jenny Craig, your turf’s about to be invaded by the Government.

Chris McCalla, IPCPR Legislative Director