There is a new security threat to our country: obesity.
(If nothing else, the sheer creativity of the fat-o-phobes is impressive. I have to hand it to them on many levels. They never stop thinking.)
Really. I shit you not. In a recent news article covering a governor's conference, former Republican governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee said that obesity was America's most pressing problem, to the point that it was an issue of national security.
"Today we hear a lot about the war on terror, how we need to fight it," said Huckabee, who lost 110 pounds several years ago when he was governor of Arkansas. "Let me ask this question: Who's going to fight it in the future if we're a generation so sick that we don't have the capacity to show up for work?"
Or, dear Mr. Huckabee, what if we have a nation that's so freaking obessessed with food that they can't focus even if they DO show up for work? Who knows how much you could have improved your great state of Arkansas if you weren't dieting so damn much. And rumor has it you had gastric bypass surgery, so don't give me all of this dieting bull. If you did, just 'fess up. You'd look much less like a wanker if you admitted it in the first place.
Okay, I'm going to stop this random rant and get back to the point.
Basically what was said at this "conference" was a bunch of standard anti-obesity hype. Americans eat too much junk and velcro their fat asses to the couch every night with a bag of potato chips.* One of Mr. H's glorious solutions? Test all kids' body fat percentages.
I object to this on several levels.
First, the only really accurate way to measure body fat is by either DEXA scan or by submersion in a special tank thing. I don't think they're going to be dunking a bunch of 6-year-olds anytime soon. It's expensive as hell. So if you do measure body fat, you're going to be getting crap numbers anyway. It's pointless and just serves to shame fat kids even more. They don't need it. Even kids (like me) who weren't fat but told they were by classmates don't need this shit. I always thought I was fat. I wasn't small (85% height and weight for age), but I was healthy as a horse.
Second, there is no evidence that this works. None. Study after study has been done and there has never been one shred of efficacy. Of course, some people are quite determined at this, and their theory is that if a single-pronged intervention doesn't work, we just need to try harder. Because one of them has to work, somehow.
Unless you're working with a flawed theory. It's like trying to make me tall. You can try stretching me like Gumby, but the only way I'm going to grow is by putting on a pair of stiletto heels. Which I will then take off and use the heel to give you a lobotomy.
Of course, this wasn't the end of things. There had to be one more classic anti-obesity comment, didn't there?
"You've got a serious situation with a generation of kids coming up so unhealthy they won't be able to pass the military physical," Huckabee said in an interview after the panel discussion. "We keep talking about the war on terror- who's going to fight it if we don't have enough people who are healthy enough to show up and pick up a backpack?"
I suppose one solution would be don't start completely pointless, futile and unnecessary wars. And, failing all else, we could just sit on the enemy.
*If you do decide to do this, I would highly recommend kettle chips. They're extremely tasty, especially the sea salt and cracked pepper kind. Salty stuff usually isn't my thing, but these...damn.