A slender silver lining

As you know, I talk about obesity and I talk about food addiction, always trying to make clear that the two aren’t analogous.

You can be obese without being a food addict, and you can be a food addict without being obese. It’s true that there is significant overlap between the populations, and it’s also true that engaging in behavior that leads to obesity can also lead to food addiction, especially if one has the genetic predisposition.

Retired Navy Rear Admiral Jamie BarnettDespite this clear demarcation, I can still conflate them, if only until I sit down to write. That’s how I realized, just now, that US Navy Rear Admiral Jamie Barnett (ret.), who represented the military-leader-non-profit Mission: Readiness at a National Journal event on weight and national security last week, doesn’t fit at all into my accidental mini-series of credible voices who have come out definitively for food addiction.

Barnett said nothing about food addiction, that I recall.

Meanwhile, I attributed part of my pleasure at his comments on dealing with the nation’s obesity epidemic to my assumption that he’s a Republican, because that side of the political spectrum is more likely to scoff at food addiction, more likely to equate the rights of corporations with the rights of people, and more likely to hammer on personal responsibility over social responsibility, as a solution.

That was part of my glee with Bill Frist’s essay on food addiction — a stalwart of the right coming to the same conclusion I have! — that I wrote about on Friday.

Except that Barnett apparently isn’t a Republican — on the first page of my Google search was a video of his endorsing Barack Obama for president.

That’s another conflation I have to watch out for: Even if Republicans are more likely to want to invade, are more likely to spend on the military regardless of budget conditions, and are more likely to value top-down hierarchy, not all who serve in the armed forces are Republicans. (Wesley Clark? Jim Webb?)

So I must downgrade my excitement again: The most I can claim is that a stalwart member of the establishment is really concerned about the obesity problem. I guess I’ll have to carry the right from here.