Welcome!

News Feed Item

The Fraser Institute: Government Meddling to Combat Obesity Unfair and Ineffective

CALGARY, ALBERTA -- (Marketwired) -- 04/28/14 -- There is no obesity epidemic in Canada, and even if there was, government intervention aimed at overweight Canadians is costly, poorly targeted and likely ineffective, finds a new study released today by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank.

"Despite claims from public health advocates, politicians and media members, it's a myth to say there's an obesity epidemic in Canada leading to widespread illness and death, and that only government intervention can save us from ourselves," said Nadeem Esmail, Fraser Institute director of health policy studies and author of Obesity in Canada: Overstated Problems, Misguided Policy Solutions.

The study, which recognizes a difference between obesity and overweightness, spotlights three main topics: obesity rates in Canada, the connection between obesity/overweightness and poor health/early death, and government response. The study includes data and analysis from Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom.

How fat are we?

From 2003 to 2012, notes the study, the rate of overweightness among the Canadian population has been stable. And while the rate of obesity climbed from 15.3 per cent to 18.4 per cent, it has also stabilized since 2009. In fact, the rate of obesity among adult males may be dropping, though it continues to increase among adult females. For young people aged 12 to 17, rates of overweightness and obesity have been stable since 2005.

"Claims of an obesity epidemic aren't supported by the available data, so policy-makers in Canada should perhaps exercise caution, rather than aggressive intervention, when considering policy proposals," Esmail said.

What are the public (and private) consequences of being fat?

While there is a clear relationship between premature death and obesity, the study finds that people at the low end of the obesity spectrum (according to the Body Mass Index or BMI, which uses a weight-to-height ratio) may be at no greater risk than so-called normal weight individuals. In fact, a number of studies show the overweight (different than obese) may have a significantly lower all-cause mortality rate compared to people in the normal weight category, while the underweight face a significant increased risk of mortality.

"Considering the health consequences across the weight spectrum, from underweight to obese, the impact of medical innovations and advances over time, and taking a broader view of the economic costs and impacts of obesity, the negative health consequences associated with obesity, and the subsequent strain on Canada's health care system, may be wildly overstated," Esmail said.

Can government trim our fat?

Most government attempts to tackle obesity and overweightness include a familiar menu of policy proposals aimed at private businesses and individuals, which include tax hikes on sugary and fatty foods, food bans, vending machine bans, and menu and food labelling initiatives.

However, these policies often ignore the many complex causes of obesity or overweightness, which include physiological, psychological and socioeconomic factors such as culture, family life and structure, genetics and income. They also impose costs on all Canadians, regardless of individual lifestyle choices, and crucially, disregard the cost to taxpayers, private business and the economy overall.

For example, many of these policies require new or larger government bureaucracies (an agency to determine which foods and beverages should be taxed or banned, for example), stunt small business growth and generate higher business costs, which are likely to be passed on to consumers.

"Government interventions impose costs indiscriminately, inappropriately vilifying particular foods, food manufacturers and distributors. If the interventions fail to shrink waistlines across Canada, we'll likely see advocates arguing that the policies weren't strong or intrusive enough. But in reality, governments have little ability to change the behaviours that lead to overweightness and obesity, and the case for government intervention is neither as strong nor as clear as advocates claim," Esmail said.

Follow the Fraser Institute on Twitter / Like us on Facebook

The Fraser Institute is an independent Canadian public policy research and educational organization with offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal and ties to a global network of 86 think-tanks. Its mission is to measure, study, and communicate the impact of competitive markets and government intervention on the welfare of individuals. To protect the Institute's independence, it does not accept grants from governments or contracts for research. Visit www.fraserinstitute.org

Add to Digg Bookmark with del.icio.us Add to Newsvine

Contacts:
Nadeem Esmail
Director of Health Policy Studies, Fraser Institute
Cell: 403-613-2423
Office: (403) 216-7175 ext. 422
[email protected]

Mark Hasiuk
Media Relations Specialist, Fraser Institute
(604) 688-0221 ext. 517
[email protected]

More Stories By Marketwired .

Copyright © 2009 Marketwired. All rights reserved. All the news releases provided by Marketwired are copyrighted. Any forms of copying other than an individual user's personal reference without express written permission is prohibited. Further distribution of these materials is strictly forbidden, including but not limited to, posting, emailing, faxing, archiving in a public database, redistributing via a computer network or in a printed form.

Latest Stories
With 10 simultaneous tracks, keynotes, general sessions and targeted breakout classes, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO are two of the most important technology events of the year. Since its launch over eight years ago, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO have presented a rock star faculty as well as showcased hundreds of sponsors and exhibitors! In this blog post, we provide 7 tips on how, as part of our world-class faculty, you can deliver one of the most popular sessions at our events. But before reading...
René Bostic is the Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America. Enjoying her career with IBM during the modern millennial technological era, she is an expert in cloud computing, DevOps and emerging cloud technologies such as Blockchain. Her strengths and core competencies include a proven record of accomplishments in consensus building at all levels to assess, plan, and implement enterprise and cloud computing solutions. René is a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and a m...
Containers and Kubernetes allow for code portability across on-premise VMs, bare metal, or multiple cloud provider environments. Yet, despite this portability promise, developers may include configuration and application definitions that constrain or even eliminate application portability. In this session we'll describe best practices for "configuration as code" in a Kubernetes environment. We will demonstrate how a properly constructed containerized app can be deployed to both Amazon and Azure ...
This is going to be a live demo on a production ready CICD pipeline which automate the deployment of application onto AWS ECS and Fargate. The same pipeline will automate deployment into various environment such as Test, UAT, and Prod. The pipeline will go through various stages such as source, build, test, approval, UAT stage, Prod stage. The demo will utilize only AWS services including AWS CodeCommit, Codebuild, code pipeline, Elastic container service (ECS), ECR, and Fargate.
Poor data quality and analytics drive down business value. In fact, Gartner estimated that the average financial impact of poor data quality on organizations is $9.7 million per year. But bad data is much more than a cost center. By eroding trust in information, analytics and the business decisions based on these, it is a serious impediment to digital transformation.
CloudEXPO New York 2018, colocated with DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City and will bring together Cloud Computing, FinTech and Blockchain, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, AI, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location.
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo, taking place November 12-13 in New York City, NY, is co-located with 22nd international CloudEXPO | first international DXWorldEXPO and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time t...
The best way to leverage your Cloud Expo presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at Cloud Expo. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audiences.
Digital Transformation: Preparing Cloud & IoT Security for the Age of Artificial Intelligence. As automation and artificial intelligence (AI) power solution development and delivery, many businesses need to build backend cloud capabilities. Well-poised organizations, marketing smart devices with AI and BlockChain capabilities prepare to refine compliance and regulatory capabilities in 2018. Volumes of health, financial, technical and privacy data, along with tightening compliance requirements by...
DXWorldEXPO LLC, the producer of the world's most influential technology conferences and trade shows has announced the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO "Early Bird Registration" is now open. Register for Full Conference "Gold Pass" ▸ Here (Expo Hall ▸ Here)
The now mainstream platform changes stemming from the first Internet boom brought many changes but didn’t really change the basic relationship between servers and the applications running on them. In fact, that was sort of the point. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Gordon Haff, senior cloud strategy marketing and evangelism manager at Red Hat, will discuss how today’s workloads require a new model and a new platform for development and execution. The platform must handle a wide range of rec...
Bill Schmarzo, author of "Big Data: Understanding How Data Powers Big Business" and "Big Data MBA: Driving Business Strategies with Data Science" is responsible for guiding the technology strategy within Hitachi Vantara for IoT and Analytics. Bill brings a balanced business-technology approach that focuses on business outcomes to drive data, analytics and technology decisions that underpin an organization's digital transformation strategy.
Rodrigo Coutinho is part of OutSystems' founders' team and currently the Head of Product Design. He provides a cross-functional role where he supports Product Management in defining the positioning and direction of the Agile Platform, while at the same time promoting model-based development and new techniques to deliver applications in the cloud.
"We began as LinuxAcademy.com about five years ago as a very small outfit. Since then we've transitioned into more of a DevOps training company - the technologies and the tooling around DevOps," explained Doug Vanderweide, an instructor at Linux Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
DevOpsSummit New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DXWorldEXPO within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term.