Again with "personal responsibility"

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To start, a bit of boring repetition: I'm a food addict, but I believe unreservedly in personal responsibility. When I was active, no one but me put the food in my mouth, and I was responsible. I'm still responsible, but with help and support, I've been eating healthily for almost 20 years.

I need to set the table with that (so to speak) because the guys at the Center for Consumer Freedom (a funded creation of the restaurant and food-product industry) again are saying that personal responsibility is the "solution" for America's rampant obesity.

This time, in a he said/she said in the New York Times, the specific pitch is about school food programs. Removing unhealthful sugary foods from vending machines and cafeteria menus will fail our kids, they assert, because then they'll never learn to make responsible choices.

Are they freakin' kidding? It makes me wish I could have been there when they were typing, to see if they could avoid giggling.

We  k-n-o-w  where giving minors the freedom to make their own choices leads — far too often to be acceptable, nowhere well. That's why there's an age of consent; it's our societal acknowledgement that kids don't reliably make choices that are good for them.

Are we really going to put the desire to teach personal responsibility above their health, above public health? When schools supply them with sugary treats, the lesson is that they're OK to eat. Giving them healthy food will teach a different lesson.

The fact is, an epidemic is raging. Let's take responsibility for resolving that first.

Author and wellness innovator Michael Prager helps smart companies
make investments in employee wellbeing that pay off in corporate success.
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