The Nanny State Won't Make Anyone Any Thinner

PM Boris Johnson is excellent at changing the subject. If there's a pandemic out and the economy is shaky, let's talk weight loss.

Britain unveiled plans to tackle an "obesity time bomb" on Monday, banning TV and online adverts for junk food before 9.00 p.m., ending "buy one get one free" deals on such foods and putting calories on menus.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has lost weight since he was in intensive care with COVID-19, wants to tackle obesity after research showed those who are obese or overweight are at increased risk of death or severe illness from the coronavirus.

Ditching his earlier stance as a non-believer of "nannying" politics, his government is announcing a new drive to help people to "take control of their own future by losing weight, getting active and adopting a healthier lifestyle".

Alongside the ban on adverts before 9.00 p.m. (2000 GMT), on food deals and plans for the calorific content of meals to be displayed on menus, the government will also launch a consultation on displaying calories on alcohol.

Nothing like a nanny state to help people take control of things.

All this Bloombergian nonsense is a dead end. People are more obese because they work at sedentary jobs or don't work at all. Exercise is increasingly likely to consist of video games. That situation has only gotten worse during the pandemic. Banning ads for sweets is silly nonsense. People aren't fats because of ads. No one has ever become obese because of advertising. Fattening foods sell themselves. Ads sell consumers on particular brands, not on the idea of drinking soda or eating burgers and chocolate.

None of this is magically going to change because a government announces a plan. Obesity is a symptom of a larger problem and that's a society which has less productive work and less of a sense of purpose. Pushing more bike lanes and banning snack ads is the condescending approach of the yuppie planning elites who have no idea how 90% of their own society lives or thinks, and which has utter contempt for those portions of society that it's trying to regulate.

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