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Could alcohol-regulation policies tame U.S. obesity epidemic?
NewsWorks ^ | August 24, 2012 | Taunya English

Posted on 08/31/2012 10:03:51 AM PDT by Altariel

What if candy stores were closed on Sundays? What if you needed a license to open a doughnut shop?

As America's weight problem gets bigger, some health researchers say instead of relying on individual willpower alone, it may be time for some new community-level policies.

Deborah Cohen, a physician and public health researcher with the RAND Corporation, suggests that some of the policies we use to control alcohol consumption could help beat back obesity.

"People realized this a couple hundred years ago, that alcohol was a problem," Cohen said. "So they developed all kinds of regulations to make it less convenient and reduce the odds that people will drink all the time and get drunk."

Perhaps now it's time to rein in our easy access to food, Cohen said.

"Choices and decision making are influenced by the context," she said. "It's the environment that really determines our behavior and we just don't appreciate that enough."

Shaping the environment to discourage overeating could include warning labels for foods high in fat and sugar, or maybe restrictions on where in the grocery store foods are displayed to curb impulse buying.

There could be unintended consequences, warns Jeff Stier, an analyst with the National Center for Public Policy Research.

Ushering in another Prohibition?

"I don't want to sound extreme, but these are Prohibition-style interventions. I mean do we really need to create a black market for burgers and fries?" Stier said.

"I think we need to teach young people how to enjoy fun foods responsibly, not to teach people that fun foods are bad," Stier said.

Cohen said education is not enough.

"What we underestimate is the power of food, of it being there and easily accessible to trigger our desires and cravings," she said.

Stier acknowledges the obesity problem but says some people are crying "obesity emergency" to justify the roll-out of untested laws and taxes.

He reviewed Cohen's analysis, which appears in the journal Preventing Chronic Diseases.

"I think we have to be clear this was not a scientific study, this was kind of a mind exercise, and in her mind these types of interventions would be a good idea," Stier said.

When asked the effectiveness of the control policies to fight obesity, Cohen said, "We have to start trying them and see if they work or not."

Cohen said one of the most promising ideas is to standardize serving sizes so consumers can better gauge the calories they are consuming.

For example, Cohen says she likes New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposal to ban the sale of large-sized sugary drinks. About 60 percent of that city's residents oppose the plan, according to a New York Times poll released this week.


TOPICS: Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: food; obesity; prohibition

1 posted on 08/31/2012 10:03:55 AM PDT by Altariel
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To: Altariel
"Perhaps now it's time to rein in our easy access to food, Cohen said."

Oh, pulleeaassseeee.....what is needed is the teaching of "self control"...(would affect out of wedlock births, and many other issues) but of course, that is banned by liberals....too MEAN!

2 posted on 08/31/2012 10:07:08 AM PDT by goodnesswins (What has happened to America?)
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To: Altariel
Yeah! More Prohibition!
(That was sarcasm for the title; now I'm going to read the article.)
3 posted on 08/31/2012 10:08:49 AM PDT by OneWingedShark (Q: Why am I here? A: To do Justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God.)
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To: Altariel

Notice how they never take on the entertainment and media industry?

Using leftist thinking - I think its clear they are greatly responsible for Obesity in the USA. If leftists agree with even micro-managing people’s weight, why not start with looking at the entertainment industry?


4 posted on 08/31/2012 10:09:11 AM PDT by PGR88
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To: Altariel

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NIufLRpJYnI


5 posted on 08/31/2012 10:09:15 AM PDT by djf (The barbarian hordes will ALWAYS outnumber the clean-shaven. And they vote.)
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To: Altariel

Alcohol and alkaloids intoxicate and affect operation of equipment, and needs regulation. Cigarettes and donuts do not affect judgment. Leave them alone, its a personal choice, not a danger to others.


6 posted on 08/31/2012 10:13:08 AM PDT by imardmd1
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To: Altariel

This is idiotic. Alcohol control laws do little or nothing to keep people from getting drunk, and do absolutely NOTHING to keep alcholics from getting drunk. A drunk will always manage to get booze, one way or another.

In the same way, sugar control laws would only make it less convenient for people who don’t have a problem with eating too many sweets. Those the laws would “help” will still get their fix, by stocking up on sweets, getting them on the “black market” (sound so silly when referring to pastries) or baking them themselves.

This seems very similar to the way muslims cover up women to “eliminate” sexual temptation (though rapes are very common anyway).

We can’t remove every temptation from the world. Instead we should work on strategies to encourage and help people to resist them.


7 posted on 08/31/2012 10:16:13 AM PDT by Above My Pay Grade
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To: Altariel

Ms. Nanny needs to do some research-many, if not most of the laws regarding the sale of alcohol were passed to please religious groups, like so-called “blue laws”, etc-and that doesn’t make them any more sensible than this proposed idiocy, by the way.

I believe it is logical to expect adults to take personal responsibility for their actions, and not enact laws to take the place of that.


8 posted on 08/31/2012 10:17:56 AM PDT by Texan5 ("You've got to saddle up your boys, you've got to draw a hard line"...)
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To: Above My Pay Grade

Well said, thank you.


9 posted on 08/31/2012 10:19:38 AM PDT by Texan5 ("You've got to saddle up your boys, you've got to draw a hard line"...)
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To: Altariel

This is absurd beyond the pale.

Want to fight obesity? Lift the tariffs on cane sugar and get rid of High Fructose Corn Syrup. I think what they are saying in defense of HFCS is propaganda.

I know if you wean yourself from it by being VERY careful about what you eat you will feel a LOT better. It is very difficult to do though because the stuff is in everything from catsup to Coke and everything in between.


10 posted on 08/31/2012 10:19:59 AM PDT by Sequoyah101 (Half the people are below average, they voted for oblabla.)
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To: Altariel

This is absurd beyond the pale.

Want to fight obesity? Lift the tariffs on cane sugar and get rid of High Fructose Corn Syrup. I think what they are saying in defense of HFCS is propaganda.

I know if you wean yourself from it by being VERY careful about what you eat you will feel a LOT better. It is very difficult to do though because the stuff is in everything from catsup to Coke and everything in between.


11 posted on 08/31/2012 10:20:22 AM PDT by Sequoyah101 (Half the people are below average, they voted for oblabla.)
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To: Altariel

I thought the RAND Corporation used to make typewriters?

At least they need to hire researchers who are more up to speed on current conditions. Our liquor laws have been steadily liberalizing since the repeal of Prohibition. Even here in Puritanical Pennsylvania you can now buy booze on a Sunday.


12 posted on 08/31/2012 10:20:26 AM PDT by Buckeye McFrog
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To: Altariel
What if candy stores were closed on Sundays?

Do candy stores still exist?

13 posted on 08/31/2012 10:21:38 AM PDT by Fiji Hill (Deo Vindice!)
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To: Altariel

Totalitarian control is always the answer, from totalitarians. Did someone from the Rand (as in Ayn?) actully say this stuff?


14 posted on 08/31/2012 10:22:54 AM PDT by CSM (Keeper of the Dave Ramsey Ping list. FReepmail me if you want your beeber stuned.)
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To: Altariel

This is the typical liberal approach—focus on the inanimate object to deal with a social problem. To curb crime, regulate guns. To eliminate graffiti, regulate marking pens. To deal with methamphetamine abuse, make it hard for cold sufferers to get pseudoephedrine. And on, and on.


15 posted on 08/31/2012 10:25:40 AM PDT by Fiji Hill (Deo Vindice!)
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To: Altariel
What if you needed a license to open a doughnut shop?

Uh, you DO need a license to open a doughnut shop, and a gas station, and a dry cleaners, and any other business including, recently, lemonade stands run by kids.

16 posted on 08/31/2012 10:28:46 AM PDT by Still Thinking (Freedom is NOT a loophole!)
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To: Altariel

What if liberal elitist busybodys minded their own damn business?


17 posted on 08/31/2012 10:31:18 AM PDT by Da Bilge Troll (Defeatism is not a winning strategy!)
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To: Altariel

Does anything good come out of the Rand corp.?


18 posted on 08/31/2012 10:37:03 AM PDT by dljordan ("Tyranny, like Hell, is not easily conquered.")
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To: Da Bilge Troll
What if liberal elitist busybodys minded their own damn business?

They'd have to give up making you pay them to save you from yourself and get real jobs.

19 posted on 08/31/2012 10:37:44 AM PDT by tacticalogic ("Oh, bother!" said Pooh, as he chambered his last round.)
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To: Sequoyah101

HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) is the same as table sugar: about 50% glucose and 50% fructose.

The problem isn’t the chemical makeup of HFCS, the problem is it is cheap—ultra cheap. Consequently:

1) Manufacturers can afford to put sweetener into products that never had sugar; even vitamins and medicines now contain sweeteners.

2) Manufacturers can now afford to put more (way more) sweetener into existing products; for example, anyone old enough to remember pre-HFCS Coke knows that modern Coke is waaaay sweeter; that’s because it contains more sugar.

About 20% of the typical American’s daily calories come from one item: HFCS—sugar! Do you think that in 1900 20% of the typical American’s calories came from sugar? No, not even close.

Americans have a high demand for sweet products. The food industry is meeting that demand by producing sweeter foods and cheaper sweeteners. The problem is on the demand side.


20 posted on 08/31/2012 10:38:04 AM PDT by Brookhaven (Freedom--tastes like chicken)
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To: Da Bilge Troll

What if they enacted a regulation and nobody obeyed it?

(The modern version of the left’s “what if they gave a war and nobody came?”)


21 posted on 08/31/2012 10:41:32 AM PDT by Brookhaven (Freedom--tastes like chicken)
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To: Altariel

Oh, great idea! Let’s put the people who have exercised such admirable restraint with respect to federal spending in charge of caloric intake! What could possibly go wrong?


22 posted on 08/31/2012 10:58:12 AM PDT by Billthedrill
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To: djf
That was one of my favorites, it had some input from the Campbell crowd.
23 posted on 08/31/2012 11:16:32 AM PDT by Little Bill
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To: Altariel

From the headline I thought excessive drinking was fueling our national obesity epidemic.


24 posted on 08/31/2012 11:30:02 AM PDT by LambSlave
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To: Altariel

I feel so sorry for my Grandchildren (not born yet)...oldest child is 14....the way this country is going, I can just imagine the limits that will be on them for everything. It definitely won’t be the free country of today. I bet food will be rationed (for their own good), mandatory physical fitness for everyone in the mornings....A weight control program where everyone is weighed and taxed according to their weight...the higher the weight, the higher the tax. I know some here will think that is crazy, but I just see it coming. Hopefully I will be dead by then.


25 posted on 08/31/2012 11:35:38 AM PDT by napscoordinator (Paul Ryan/Rick Santorum 2012....That would be the best scenario ever.)
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To: Fiji Hill

Actually yes, we have one in our mall, bins of candy (jelly bellys you can buy each flavor separately!). But I think most people buy their candy at Walmart or Target etc. However, during the Blue Law era, where we lived, they couldn’t sell alcohol (well, I can’t recall the exact details now, it’s been so long ago) in grocery stores on Sunday either. Maybe they would do that for candy. It’s all silly anyway. Just stop subsidizing people’s bad choices, and then who cares. If they can afford their own bad choices, let them go for it.


26 posted on 08/31/2012 11:38:12 AM PDT by brytlea (An ounce of chocolate is worth a pound of cure)
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To: Brookhaven

Well, that might not be true. The body may not metabolize them the same way:
http://consumerist.com/2012/01/study-says-sugar-hfcs-not-as-identical-as-some-would-have-you-believe.html

Of course, you can look through studies that say different things, so who knows for sure. I do know I won’t use it myself, but then again, I rarely use cane sugar either.

We should all probably use a lot less sweetener period. I know I can hardly stand how sweet store bought goodies are and rarely eat them. When I do I’m always sorry.


27 posted on 08/31/2012 11:44:30 AM PDT by brytlea (An ounce of chocolate is worth a pound of cure)
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To: Altariel

How about a Nanny Tax? Every time someone opens their pie hole telling others what to eat, they must pay a substantial tax. The funds gathered could go into Medicare, because fat people may have more medical bills later in life,


28 posted on 08/31/2012 11:48:01 AM PDT by txrefugee
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To: Altariel

“Deborah Cohen, a physician and public health researcher with the RAND Corporation, suggests that some of the policies we use to control alcohol consumption could help beat back obesity.”

We regulate the sale of alcoholic beveridges, and do very little to control actual consumption of them, except on the fringes.

People in the United States have very little problem obtaining the amount of aclcoholic beveridges they wish to consume. The assumption to the contrary in the Rand study is wrong.


29 posted on 08/31/2012 12:07:43 PM PDT by Wuli
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To: Altariel

the woman is a Nazi (whether she admits it or not)

one could say “our ‘weight’ problem is none of your ffing business”

the maximum permissible role of “public health” in this issue is information

the rest is up to everyone within their Liberty


30 posted on 08/31/2012 12:12:18 PM PDT by Wuli
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To: Wuli
Could alcohol-regulation policies tame U.S. obesity epidemic?

Encourage people to smoke. That will have three effects:

1. it will tame the U.S. obesity problem,

2. it will result in a LOT of money being collected in SS and other taxes throughout the productive life of the smoker, but not have to be paid back since the shortened life span of a smoker is usually due to death during retirement earlier than non-smokers, so that smokers, along with black males, will be net contributors to, but not recipients of, the SS program.

3. it will raise a crap-load of tax revenue in a way that can't be done with taxes on food, which would be indiscriminate. A tax on tobacco would target exactly those who use it, not those who don't.

So this way we're shifting one set of illnesses toward another but later in life. This keeps a higher level of tax-revenue generating going over a longer period of time (including the tobacco taxes after retirement until the statistically earlier deaths due to lung cancer and emphysema), reduces the pay out of Social Security, and reduces the total amount of food eaten (which increases food supply).
31 posted on 08/31/2012 12:22:21 PM PDT by aruanan
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To: Altariel

I’ve got it! Let’s have a major tax on:

Physicians and public health researchers with the RAND Corporation!

A big, thick tax right off the top of their incomes, along with other “researchers” and other such scum, who propose obnoxious laws that take away the rights and liberties of other people!


32 posted on 08/31/2012 12:32:58 PM PDT by yefragetuwrabrumuy
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To: Brookhaven

It may be volume of sugar, I read that the average consumption is over 41 lbs of HFCS per person per year. I only know I feel a lot better when I avoid it and drink soda made with cane sugar and that is occasional.

I really don’t like sweet things all that much. I did prefer the old Coke with less sweetener.

I also know that HFCS is protected by tariffs against cane sugar.


33 posted on 08/31/2012 12:47:38 PM PDT by Sequoyah101 (Half the people are below average, they voted for oblabla.)
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