MONTREAL, May 9, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - Excess weight is a complex
phenomenon resulting from a broad range of factors related to diet,
personal habits, physical characteristics and social surroundings.
However, in the last few years we have been seeing a change in attitude
from organizations devoted to promoting healthy living habits.
Increasingly, they are advocating coercive solutions based on taxation.
These solutions, unfortunately, are not effective at reducing
"There is no one law, no single tax, and no single food product
scapegoat that can serve as the foundation for a successful
anti-obesity strategy," says Dr. David Gratzer in a new report titled No Magic Pill: Positive Solutions to the Obesity Issue.
"The first step in crafting an effective anti-obesity policy is to
accept that there are practical and political limits to the state's
ability to micromanage dietary behaviour in a free society," he
explains. "Policymakers must abandon the search for one magic policy
pill that can melt a nation's pounds away. Nor can we force people to
cook at home and exercise. And unless we ban popular food industries
outright or ration net calories as we might in wartime, the
end-consumer will always have the final say on their own balance — or
imbalance — of calories."
Solutions to this problem should focus on the incentives that
individuals face. Dr. Gratzer urges people to show imagination. Whether
at the office by holding walk-and-talk meetings or offering rewards for
weight loss, at school by introducing short physical activity breaks,
or in the community by making sports facilities more accessible,
everyone should get involved in reducing the prevalence of paunch.
"Doctors also have a major role to play," Dr. Gratzer notes. "It doesn't
seem normal for half of us to be uncomfortable about raising the issue
of obesity with patients! Beyond better training in this area, we could
consider providing better targeted prescriptions, for example. We
should no longer limit ourselves to general advice on the importance of
eating properly and exercising regularly. This sort of advice has
"A wide array of political and socio-economic factors have been
contributing to the rise in obesity," notes Jasmin Guénette,
vice-president of the Montreal Economic Institute and a collaborator in
this research. "Despite these varied causes, what we eat and what we do
with our own bodies remain personal decisions. No program can succeed
without individuals being convinced it is useful and choosing to take
part in it. Our responsibility toward ourselves must be the starting
point in reversing this tendency."
This Research Paper, titled No Magic Pill: Positive Solutions to the Obesity Issue, was written by Dr. David Gratzer, a Canadian doctor, award-winning
author and expert in public policy on health matters. This Research Paper, as well as the Economic Note Are Soda Taxes A Cure for Obesity?, are available at www.iedm.org.
The Montreal Economic Institute is an independent, non-partisan,
not-for-profit research and educational organization. Through its
publications and conferences, the MEI stimulates debate on public
policies in Quebec and across Canada by proposing wealth-creating
reforms based on market mechanisms.
SOURCE: MONTREAL ECONOMIC INSTITUTE
For further information:
Ariane Gauthier, Senior Advisor, Communications, Montreal Economic Institute
Tel.: 514 273-0969 ext. 2231 / Cell: 514 603-8746 / Email: email@example.com