Will the Government Regulate Heart-clogging Foods Too?
The FDA says cigarette manufacturers must start including graphic pictures on every pack showing the effects of smoking in an effort to get people to quit and lead healthier lives. Could the same type of pictures soon be gracing the labels of bacon, fried chicken and other heart-clogging foods?
Plenty of people out there oppose the kind of regulation that they say, infringes upon the right of individuals to decide what's best for them without government intervention. On behalf of those people, reporters asked Health and Human Services Sec. Kathleen Sebelius Tuesday if her "perfect world" includes "graphic images of clogged arteries and fat-encrusted hearts on really bad food."
"I think tobacco is unique. It is a product that is the number one cause of preventable death," Sebelius said.
But obesity ranks high as a cause too. According to reports in 2009, obesity caused about half as many preventable deaths as smoking. High blood pressure, salt intake and trans fat consumption were counted separately on top of obesity.
"[A]s you look at the underlying health care costs, where we spend 75 cents of every health care dollar treating chronic disease, what are the areas, if you want to lower health costs and have a healthier country that you can focus on? Certainly, tobacco and obesity become two of the major underlying causes."
For now grotesque pictures designed to get you to stop eating unhealthy food aren't on the horizon. Instead, Sec. Sebelius jokes the government will stick with positive reinforcement.
"Just lots of celery stalks and broccoli."