spiked plus reader Q&A: January 2013
The obesity panic is back with a bang on both sides of the Atlantic. In the UK, there have been calls for welfare benefits to be withheld from obese people who don’t exercise enough. The Labour Party’s shadow health secretary, Andy Burnham, has called for legal limits on the sugar, salt and fat content of food. In the US, New York City has approved a ban on supersized sodas and enforced calorie counts on restaurant menus. On both sides of the Atlantic, there are calls for ‘fat taxes’ on food. What’s going on?
Who better to ask than Paul Campos, author of the groundbreaking exposé, The Obesity Myth, in which the University of Colorado law professor takes a forensic legal approach to the issue. The book has become a touchstone for anyone who is sceptical about the scary claims made about our expanding waistlines. So, what does he think now, nearly 10 years on from the book’s publication? Is the threat of obesity really a ‘myth’? What are the consequences of the public-health campaigns and initiatives in recent years? How did a law professor come to write a book about obesity?