cluebucket + america + causation   1

The Sugar Wars: Science’s Fierce, Geeky Debate Over Soda | The Awl
"It's a tempting scenario: much as one might gut the worldwide prevalence of lung cancer by targeting tobacco, one might arrest and reverse ballooning obesity trends by indicting sugared drinks.

"But things are not quite as simple as a media meme or a political trend, otherwise why would the Obesity Society stage such a debate or, indeed, an entire conference wherein soda was, at best, a minor player in a complex drama of cause and effect?"
...
"Moreover, as the economic historian John Komlos has pointed out, it's a mistake to think that obesity suddenly arrived in America as a problem in the 1980s. If you looked at historical data for Body Mass Index (BMI—a proxy measure for fat), Americans started putting on the pounds in the 1920s and piling them on in the 50s and 60s. It just looked like the obesity epidemic struck in the 80s because that's when the BMI threshold for defining obesity was crossed by a mass of people who had been gradually putting on the pounds year after year."
...
"The casual way autonomy can be overturned by rhetorical claims to public health has the power to drive people potty. As the philosopher-turned-financier Michael Shaoul noted in a 1992 PhD thesis, the emergence of credit in the 1980s had a profound effect on identity, greatly accelerating the transformation whereby people stopped thinking of themselves as being solely defined by their labor in a particular workplace and began to think of themselves as consumers. ... Public health experts have a tendency to think of the consumer as someone who is consuming the wrong things because they lack the right kind of knowledge or incentive to consume the right things or because an industry has successfully persuaded them to consume the wrong things. But when everyone sees their social role as, fundamentally, being a consumer, there is little transactional difference between a beverage company or a fast-food restaurant and a public health department.

"This is something that struck me, as a non-scientist, throughout the conference: there was very little room in the "Harvard" conception of public health for the idea of pleasure as a "good"—as something the consumer values, wants, identifies with, and should be at liberty to pursue even at a personal risk to health."
theawl  soda  sugar  nutrition  health  law  legal  morality  michael_bloomberg  academia  debate  science  america  obesity  frank_hu  david_allison  expert  harvard  diet  evidence  research  2012  2010s  21st_century  bias  epidemiology  risk  causation  effect  data  sedentary  body  tax  trevor_butterworth 
october 2012 by cluebucket

Copy this bookmark:



description:


tags: