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NBC: Obesity 'No Longer A Question of Individual Responsibility,' Government Must Act

Kyle Drennen's picture

Touting new recommendations from an Institute of Medicine panel on obesity on Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, science correspondent Robert Bazell proclaimed to viewers: "...a sea change in how we perceive obesity. No longer a question of individual responsibility, but a need to change what's called an 'obesity-promoting environment.' Calling on corporations, government and individuals to act."

At the top of the broadcast, anchor Brian Williams sounded the alarm: "Weight of the nation. An American health crisis out of control, and tonight a reality check on what it might take to turn things around." Later teasing the upcoming story, he declared: "Getting past the question of will power, what's really to blame for a nation of exploding waistlines? Tonight, there is a surprising new answer."

In his report, Bazell proceeded to detail the dictates of the health panel: "...requiring at least 60 minutes a day of physical activity in schools. Public and workplace policies that encourage people of all ages to exercise more. Industry-wide guidelines on marketing food to children, including healthier choices for kids in restaurants and having healthy food available at all public events."

Bazell further pushed the findings: "With the cost of treating obesity-related illnesses approaching $200 billion a year, many on the panel say the nation is ready to act." The panel's vice chair, Dr. M.R.C. Greenwood implored: "It takes a lot of leadership. We need our mayors to step up to the plate, we need our school superintendents to step up to the plate."

Concluding the segment, Bazell lamented the public practicing "bad habits...in an environment that encourages them."

Only NBC saw fit to hype the panel's big government proposals on Tuesday. Neither ABC's World News nor the CBS Evening News reported on the topic.


Here is a full transcript of the May 8 Nightly News segment:

7:00PM ET TEASE:

BRIAN WILLIAMS: Weight of the nation. An American health crisis out of control, and tonight a reality check on what it might take to turn things around.

7:12PM ET TEASE:

WILLIAMS: And up next, the weight of the nation. Getting past the question of will power, what's really to blame for a nation of exploding waistlines? Tonight, there is a surprising new answer.

7:14PM ET SEGMENT:

WILLIAMS: Back now with our reporting on what's being called the weight of the nation. Last night we told you about a stunning prediction that by the year 2030, health experts are telling us 42% of Americans will be obese. Today at a conference in Washington, some sweeping strategies for fighting this epidemic. We get more from our chief science correspondent Robert Bazell.

ROBERT BAZELL: Dr. Robin Goland is on the front lines of the obesity epidemic. And sees its consequences every day.

ROBIN GOLAND [COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER]: Our pediatricians are seeing obese 2-year-olds and 4-year-olds, we have 5-year-olds with impaired glucose tolerance. We have 8-year-olds with Type II diabetes. This is a catastrophe.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Most of you are familiar with the shocking statistics.

BAZELL: Today's recommendations from the prestigious Institute of Medicine, signal a sea change in how we perceive obesity. No longer a question of individual responsibility, but a need to change what's called an "obesity-promoting environment." Calling on corporations, government and individuals to act.

Among the panel's recommendations, requiring at least 60 minutes a day of physical activity in schools. Public and workplace policies that encourage people of all ages to exercise more. Industry-wide guidelines on marketing food to children, including healthier choices for kids in restaurants and having healthy food available at all public events.

With the cost of treating obesity-related illnesses approaching $200 billion a year, many on the panel say the nation is ready to act.

M.R.C. GREENWOOD [OBESITY PANEL VICE CHAIR]: It takes a lot of leadership. We need our mayors to step up to the plate, we need our school superintendents to step up to the plate.

BAZELL: With two thirds of Americans overweight and one third obese, the problem has become so critical that it's affecting almost every aspect of our daily lives. There are even worries that airplane seat belts can't protect the many heavy passengers.

JANEY PRATT [MASSACHUSETTS GENERAL HOSPITAL]: We skip meals, we eat too quickly. We eat foods that are high in sugars and carbohydrates, in fats. And we eat more of them.

BAZELL: Bad habits, the panel said, in an environment that encourages them. Robert Bazell, NBC News, New York. 

Comments

#1 Dear Mr Williams

I'm not obese, maybe 15 lbs overweight, but working on it, but you will pry my steak knife out of my cold, dead hands. Just gave me an idea for dinner tonight. A nice barbecued rib eye

In Switzerland, they had brotherly love and five hundred years of democracy and peace, and what did they produce? The cuckoo clock! - Orson Welles

#2 Considering how many obese

Considering how many obese people receive food stamps, that might be a good place to start.

               A gun in your hand beats a cop on the phone.

#3 What to invest in.........

My broker called me and advised me to go long on arugula. I just contracted for 300,000 bushels at a great price. My broker predicts arugula will outperform the market, gold, platinum, oil, etc. My broker is NEVER wrong. This call makes perfect sense to me given the governmental environment we live in. next big move to keep an eye on..........Ranch Dressing...low fat, of course.

Flesh from POTUS and the angry FLOTUS: "Arugula for thee, burgers and fries for me!"

#4 This is the type of hypocrisy

This is the type of hypocrisy we were making fun of the other day --

People who say the culture promotes obesity, but sex on TV and in movies doesn't influence people at all.

#5 I didn't choose to be fat...

it's in my DNA. My mom is fat, my sister is fat, my brother is fat, my grandfather was fat, my grandmother was fat.

Hey, it works for the homosexual lobby - why not me...

#6 Another Excuse to Increase Government

If they could find a way to link obesity with global warming I think they would have an orgasm on live TV.

#7 So we cut out recess, cut back on PE...

And then wonder why this is a problem in our kids?

#8 Government.....

Hands off our stomachs!

#9 Well...

This isn't directed at the genetically predisposed, but when the pizza-gorging, beer-swilling, doughnut-chomping, soda-guzzling, cheese whiz-chugging, grease-drooling waddling vats of blubber...these cumbrous, lardaceous ass-draggers...stop putting their pudgy fingers in my pocket to pay for the enormous costs they impose upon our health care system, I'll stop worrying about their stomachs and what they're stuffing them with.

Jer

#10 But it's cool for illegal

But it's cool for illegal aliens? Even childbirth, schooling, tax refunds, incarceration, etc., and nobody in the media sees a problem with that, right? Maybe if the government hadn't created a health costs problem in the first place, we wouldn't even be having this discussion, much less be sold on the idea that we are all SUPPOSED to pay for everyone else's health and lifestyle.

#11 What about the Red Sox?

This thread is about obesity and the cost impact on health care. There have been numerous threads about illegal aliens and I'm sure there will be many more in the future.

In what way did the government specifically create the cost crisis?

Jer

#12 Not Off-topic

A valid point..you think the obese are robbing your pocket, but not illegal aliens? Isn't everyone else then? Killa goes surfing, isn't that a 'health-risk'. Gays have gay sex, isn't that a health-risk? Carpenters use saws, isn't that a health-risk? Government has made you believe that, not only are these mentioned guilty of some sort of 'sin', but that YOU are responsible for them. That's part of the problem government has created. There is also the limitation on offering health insurance nationally, creating monopolies, there is also the rising costs due to government-mandated coverage, for some things that could be argued as not 'health-related' at all. There is the matter of lawsuits of all sorts increasing costs. Government is guilty of making health-coverage a social welfare program, increasingly raising costs ever since. How did anybody ever pay for a doctor before the Great Society? Government has made health-care ridiculously unaffordable. And just take the issue of obesity and diabetes here.....government subsidizes and thereby encourages the rampant use of 'high fructose corn syrup', but they're going to solve the problem? Gimme a break, remember how they solved the 'potential crisis' of soil erosion in the South by introducing Kudzuu to the country? You really have faith in these people...what part of the Constitution did I miss that mentions the State's role in telling people what they can and cannot eat, or what companies can and cannot sell, the part about limiting people's choices...where is that part?

#13 By not fixing

the tort system in this country. Medical bills are thru the roof because of malpractice insurance, and health insurance laws that don't allow for healthy competition. If congress would fix these two things prices would go down on healthcare.

#14 Gman...

For the umpteenth time, I agree about tort reform. The trial lawyers cite studies which claim the impact isn't that significant, but I think the weight of the evidence is to the contrary.

Jer

#15 This is definitely a problem,

This is definitely a problem, but one that can only be fixed with education.

Because they figured people have no will power, over the years, they've come up with reduced-fat, low-fat, no-fat products, and we just keep getting fatter.

Most people don't realize that those no-fat products sometimes contain only 20-30 fewer calories than the one with fat; because they make up the difference with sugar.  People think they can eat twice as much!

I say this as a person who struggles with my weight.  Rules aren't going to help.  It's like quitting smoking: no one can MAKE another person do it.  It has to come from within.

#16 For a long time I have

For a long time I have wondered why so many black women are so heavy. 

Alice Randall has a column on it in the New York Times.

And it's about changing attitudes.

Black Women and Fat

#17 Cool

Remember when people used to smoke cigarettes, but government intervention and punitive taxes have made it a thing of the past? One bad habit nixed....uh...except not...not even among the teens I see smoking. And you are correct, Kenny, a WHOLE lot of welfare queens have butts twice as big as Michelle Obama's, let's 'fix' them first.
Obesity environment....can we call that 'global fattening'? Someone call the UN!!! American's are living lives of freedom and choice!!!!!!

#18 Ant, thanks for the nod.

Ant, thanks for the nod. Judging from the film footage of post-Katrina New Orleans, lack of food didn't appear to be a problem for many of the impoverished.

I'm just saying, if the government wants to play food police, then they should make a trial run with the people for whom the government buys the food. Two birds with one stone. The government fights the obesity "crisis" AND reduces spending.

               A gun in your hand beats a cop on the phone.

#19 Williams added that the White

Williams added that the White House was quietly evolving on the notion of mandatory liposuction for all people considered "fat" by the Obama administration. Insiders noted that Obama may announce his decision on the John Stewart Show next week.

"This is not your mother's Democratic Party"--Andrew Breitbart, CPAC, February 2012

#20 Dear NBC Douchebags

Dear NBC Douchebags,

Could the "environment that encourages" overeating be in any way tied to the constant food advertising your network runs?

Studies have shown that people who watch lots of television tend to overeat and tend to be heavier than people who don't watch TV because of the constant barrage of restaurant and food advertisements.

So, maybe you could take a proactive stance on this issue by banning food advertising from your network instead of calling for more senseless and unneeded government regulation.

Signed,

Someone who used to watch your network years ago but turned it off when it became a socialist propaganda machine.

#21 So how long before

We have a new Government service were we have someone living in our homes... who's job it is to regulate what we eat?

"When you face the mirror... consider this... why judge another when you've got your own shit to fix"... Quennsryche... "Dirty Lil' Secret"...

#22 All faith into the

All faith into the government! The government saves us from anything and everything bad! Oh, Wonderful Government, what would my life be without you? Won't you please tell me what my daily schedule should be? And please give me money and tell me what I should buy at the grocery store so I can watch TV the rest of the day while you give me money for sitting around doing nothing. Oh yeah, don't forget to give me the cell phone I deserve for simply existing.

#23 Ow 'bout another round of

Ow 'bout another round of drencrom for me droogs?

               A gun in your hand beats a cop on the phone.

#24 I sure

hope they save me from myself soon.......do they know that toothpicks are sharp and can be hazardous to health? Huh? Well come on, we need to outlaw toothpicks since swallowing one could lead to punctured innards an oooh Lawdy, that can just about bring us to the brink of poverty dealing with that. And don't even get me started on the folks who run with scissors............maybe we should just think of the gov't like our own "personal trainers", yeah, that's the ticket!!!

#25 Man, is that mean Outer Party

Man, is that mean Outer Party Ingsoc bi*ch going to come on the telescreen every morning and berate me for not being able to touch my toes?

Can hardly wait.

"Under Capitalism, man exploits man.  Under Communism it's just the opposite."

"All that Communism needs to make it successful is for someone to feed and clothe it."

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