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Saturday, December 3, 2011

Who Are The Elitists?

There are a growing number of public health advocates and government bureaucrats who seek to rob our freedom to choose how to live and what to eat. In fact those who have read Eating Right for long will recognize these types as the villain in my essays. Who are they by name?

One of the finger wagers is none other than surgeon and talk show host Dr. Oz. As a cardiothoracic surgeon I have no doubt that Mehmet Oz is effective in treating disease. As a television talk show host spouting opinion with two scoops of hyperbole his prescriptions seem to contain plenty of production value. Why is Dr. Oz lumped in with all of the other food police?

Dr. Oz along with most public health and government health bureaucrats espouses the position that to be healthy we have to be thin and eat according to their menu choices.  Their popular refrain is that we collectively eat too much junk food, too much fast food and get too little physical activity. Therefore they indict the Western world as a nation of obese couch potatoes unlearned and untrained in the right ways, their ways, of health.

On a recent episode of the Dr. Ox Show Dr. Oz has as a guest Dr. Glenn Gaesser. Dr. Gaesser is Associate Director of Health Promotions at Arizona State University and author of Big Fat Lies: The Truth about Your Weight and Your Health. Dr. Gaesser presented Dr. Oz with scientifically sound information on the fact that weight is a poor predictor of health and that good health is possible at any body size. If you didn’t see the show the calm learned manner of Dr. Gaesser put Dr. Oz back on his heels.

What Dr. Gaesser has found in his academic research has supported what we the people have known instinctively for a long time that being a little or even a lot over weight is not always a death sentence. Unfortunately Dr. Oz given his highly visible platform is not persuaded by this common sense message and therefore not likely to begin supporting it. Why?

Health at every size is not glamorous and doesn’t sell as well as does the typical message that thin is in and thin means health. To take away the golden goose of obesity and its epidemic status from health elitists would bring an end to more than a few lucrative careers.   

Finally and perhaps most telling is how the health elitist community revels in the substantive science that undergirds their points of view. They love citing the government agency or commission or academic institution whose findings give legs to what they believe. They though turn a collective blind eye to any information that would overturn their apple cart.

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