Out of Control Policy Blog

Fat, lazy, and fine with it

The feds say two-thirds of us are:

1. overweight or obese, and
2. not exercising regularly.

So what are we to make of this survey, from the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association, which finds:

    Seventy percent of respondents said they were completely or somewhat satisfied with their physical health and 66 percent said the same about their physical appearance ...

    And just over half (52 percent) of the more than 1,400 people polled last September said they were generally satisfied with the amount of exercise they get.

I'm all for eating right and exercising, but busybodies often forget there are benefits to being a fat slob. Sitting on a couch is a very pleasant experience, and eating whatever you want is lots of fun.

Still, Bill Howland, IHRSA's research director, is perplexed: people don't exercise enough even though nearly 90 percent of respondents said they believe exercise plays a major role in health.

But it's not big news that–even when armed with all the facts–people still choose activities that don't optimize physical health. Maybe someday nags will realize that those who don't behave the way they want them to cannot be "fixed" with more education.

And who among us doesn't live with (struggle with?) some sort of contradiction between what we want and what we actually do?

This comment from Howland seems to represent what a lot of government busybodies believe their role to be:

"We've got to get the behavior to match the beliefs," he says.

For more on this, see Jacob Sullum's recent Reason cover story: The War on Fat: Is the size of your butt the government's business?

Ted Balaker is Producer


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