Global Warming and Obesity. Is Driving the New Smoking?

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

When medical studies declared second hand smoke a danger to non-smokers, anti-smoking crusaders found the ammunition they needed to bend public policy to their will. Global warming has played a similar role in the fight against the automobile. Yes, I said the automobile, not automotive emissions. While environmentalists on this side of the pond focus on fuel efficiency, alt propulsion and bio-fuels in a "have your cake and eat it" kinda way, European governments have pounced on the connection between cars and global warming to justify their ongoing anti-car crusade. And now the BBC reports a new front: obesity. The UK-based Institute for European Environmental Policy have released a study linking car ownership and obesity. Their report recommends an "exclusionary zone" around schools– to force parents and children to walk to class. Co-author Carolina Valsecchi connected the dots. "The twin crises of obesity and climate change are clearly interlinked through the switch from muscle power to engine power for transport. Concerted action is needed to reverse both these trends." Given parental protective instincts and bad British weather, a no-drive school zone would be a severe test of the Nanny State's power to restrict personal freedom for "your own good."

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • Edgett Edgett on Aug 13, 2007

    I saw a wonderful bumper sticker several years ago: "If you think second hand smoke is bad, take a hit of THIS", with an arrow pointing at the car's exhaust. I doubt if Ralph Nader actually started the "Nanny State", but he certainly helped it along with the intimation that it was GM's fault that Corvair drivers did not learn how to handle a rear-engined car. Thus it must be the car's fault that people are not exercising enough. No one would dare blame the all-pervasive idea that we all need to move faster in order to bring home the bacon, or that we have collectively scared the bejesus out of parents by painting a world in which rogue priests, kidnappers, terrorists and pedophiles are lurking behind every bush just waiting to grab little Mary or Jimmy. Or god forbid that we study the effects of propagandizing the population through advertising to eat everything in sight. It is "for our own good" that we all wait, sheeplike, in airport queues in a vain attempt to eliminate aircraft hijackings. And it will be "for our own good" that we prevent parents from driving the last mile or so to school.

  • Carlos.negros Carlos.negros on Aug 13, 2007

    Certainly no one would dispute that lousy seats increase the chance of poor posture and back/leg pain on long trips. I think some cars may also make it easier to have a big rear end (the driver not the car). If the seats are big and wide versus ass-hugging, it may send the message that it is okay to look like Rush Limbaugh. On the other hand, cars that break down often, such as Saabs, may do us an inadvertent favor by forcing us to push them or hoof it home along some forsaken back road in areas occupied by hillbilly cannibals. Just the fear that notion provokes is enough to give your heart some exercise.

  • Johnny Canada Johnny Canada on Aug 13, 2007

    Guilt. It's the oldest trick in the Communist playbook , and now the eco-hippies and EU are running with it.....make people feel guilty for their lifestyle and very existence. Once we swallow that one, the rest comes very easy. Comrade.

  • Guyincognito Guyincognito on Aug 14, 2007

    Actually if you study the data you will notice a correlation between increasing obesity and increasing global temperatures, therefore obesity causes global warming not cars.