Saturday, August 22, 2015

Politics, science and the (overblown) benefits of exercise

The federal government, soda companies and libertarians all argue that exercise is key to losing weight. Something is very wrong if these three parties agree on this question, because they are usually at odds on health-related issues.

In this case, the consensus is strange because the government simultaneously criticizes soda companies for encouraging obesity and subsidizes the main ingredient in their product. Coke and Pepsi don't take this criticism lying down, of course, but they do everything they can to defend the agricultural subsidies that they benefit from. Meanwhile, libertarians dislike both the government and anyone who takes public money for anything.

So why do they all agree about the blessings of exercise? They're all ignoring the data to prop up their political agendas. If exercise can make you slim and keep you that way, the government doesn't have to take responsibility for promoting a diet that made everyone fat and sick. The same goes for the sugary drink people: "You drink six cans of coke a day and you're fat? Not our fault, you should exercise!" Libertarians likewise cling to the exercise makes you sexy argument, because regulation of any human activity is a sin. 

Anyway, the video that inspired this brief Saturday morning rant, via RealClearScience:

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