Additional Titles






High Price of



"Free Alan

Big Brother Comes To Wal-Mart

Welcome to the Gulag

Seat Belts,
Cigaretts and

S.A.R.S. Simply Another
Ridiculous Scam

Why N.C. National Guardsman Daniel Moody Didn't Get His mail

Big-Time Spooky

So Much Sewage







By Mary Starrett

November 9, 2003

All this media and political hype about the growing "epidemic" of obesity is wearing me out. Open the newspaper, turn on the TV and chances are good you'll see a story about how fat we're becoming and how something must be done to slow this alarming trend. Children are fat! Women are fat! Men are fat! Old people are fat! What to do, what to do? Nowhere is there a mention of why we're fat; all we're being told is that someone must do something. From the looks of things the battle of the bulge will be lead by the government and a smarmy band of trial lawyers.

Having had their way with the tobacco companies (because, after all smokers with lung cancer had no idea smoking could be harmful) the Bruno Magli-shod shylocks are rubbing their hands together at the thought of all the loot they'll pocket from the lawsuits against cookie companies and fast food chains. I submit that those who are zaftig know exactly why. Anyone who's ever been motivated by an upcoming wedding or class reunion knows EXACTLY how to drop unwanted poundage. It's intuitive. We know eating a pint of Hagan Daaz before bed or super-sizing the fries or snacking on mint Milanos or not exercising is the reason we can't fit into last winter's cords.

Never before in the history of mankind has there been so much readily- available information and interest in nutrition. Everywhere you look there are free classes, articles, websites, print and broadcast attention to eating right and staying in shape. Is there anyone who feeds him/herself in this country who's not been enlightened on the carb issue? According to the Natural Marketing Institute, nine million people on the low-carb Atkins diet have made the effort to research the diet and they have managed to lose substantial amounts of weight. 63 million others expressed interest in going on the diet. This carb-lessening craze has spawned a multi-million dollar industry catering to those who want to have their (low carb) cake and eat it too. (It's just too bad diet guru Robert Atkins didn't live to see his formerly-maligned research vindicated by a national diet shift.)

The Center for Consumer Freedom is running TV ads showing lawyers popping up at supermarkets, burger joints and schools in an effort to convince people their fatness is not their fault. The group which touts "promoting personal responsibility, protecting consumer choice" shows a cartoon on its website ( which sums up the newly-emerging battle. A man standing on a scale looks down to see the numbers 190, 200, 210 and next after that number is the word "SUE". Another cartoon shows a weight scale outside a restaurant bearing a sign that says "You must weigh less than this to order dessert".

People are fat, by and large, because they are lazy. It takes less time to order a burger, fries and Coke than it does to make a pot of lentil soup. We're driven by taste, not reason.

But we don't cook anymore. The life-sustaining nutrition of vegetables, fruit, broiled fish and whole grain bread (the diet of the Bible, by the by) has been replaced by bags of chips, frozen pizzas and 2 liter bottles of Pepsi. Eating this way not only makes us fat but it costs more, too.

Sugary cereal costs more than $4.00 a box. For that amount you could buy enough oatmeal, fruit and eggs to feed yourself the first meal of the day for a week. In addition to saving money by eating the latter, you wouldn't feel tired, bloated or lethargic by 10 am as many do eating empty-calorie processed grains. 10 ounces of Doritos chips are over $3.00 for a bag of little more than salt, fat and preservatives. Broccoli costs less than a dollar a pound. The 2 liter bottle of Coke is $1.29, tea is cheaper and water is free. Packaged deli meats are close to $4.00 for 8 ounces. Salmon costs $ 5.00 a pound. A pound of lentils is .89 cents. Brown rice costs .90 cents a pound. You get the picture.

In addition to being fat we are unhealthy because we choose poorly. If we thought of food as life-sustaining instead of just tasting good we'd all be in better shape physically and financially.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro D-Conn. introduced a bill this week that would require fast-food and chain restaurants to display nutrition information on their menus. Can you just imagine the lines at drive-through windows all over America? Can't you just see the people poring over the listed sodium, fat and caloric content of their selections then driving away saying "too much fat in that burger, I'm going home to make a salad!"


Food labeling has been de rigeur for a generation. For 30 plus years we've had the information available on each and every can, box and bottle. We're obese DESPITE labeling, not for lack of it .The problem is the processed and refined foods inside those labeled packages. It cannot even come close to keeping us slim or healthy. I say ditch the boxes, bottles and cans and buy whole, fresh, unprocessed foods. Your waistline will be smaller and your bank account will be bigger.

We simply do not need the government or the trial lawyers getting involved. Legislation and class action suits will only generate more fat� fat wallets for the lawyers and a more bloated bureaucracy for the politicians.

� 2003 Mary Starrett - All Rights Reserved

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Mary Starrett was on television for 21 years as a news anchor, morning talk show host and medical reporter. For the last 5 years she hosted a radio program. Mary is a frequent guest on radio talk shows. E-Mail [email protected]







"Having had their way with the tobacco companies (because, after all smokers with lung cancer had no idea smoking could be harmful) the Bruno Magli-shod shylocks are rubbing their hands together at the thought of all the loot they'll pocket from the lawsuits against cookie companies and fast food chains."