A Lean New Deal to Reverse the Obesity Syndemic

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez`A broad coalition of health, nutrition, environmental, and animal rights activists are creating quite a stir today with an ambitious new policy proposal. The Lean New Deal aims to stop the obesity syndemic in its tracks. At the same time, it will erase the problem of climate change if fully implemented. This is the product of young policy wonks in Congress working with an impressive array of NGOs.

Though it came from the House, Senate leader Mitch McConnell embraced it immediately. He scheduled a vote for it this week, before Senators could escape for their Easter recess. “I want to get these tofurkys on the record before they regain their senses,” he said to several sources. All of them spoke to ConscienHealth on the condition of anonymity.

Comprehensive Approach

The Lean New Deal (LeNewD) is modeled from findings in the report of the Lancet Commision on the Global Syndemic. Author of this new vision, Lloyd Winburne explained that it’s more complete than prior initiatives:

The problem with prior efforts is that they were way too timid. For example, Mexico only went after sugar-sweetened beverages and a few junk foods. On SSBs the tax was only ten percent and even less on junk food. We’re going broader and higher. Plus, we’re going to fix both obesity and climate change with the stroke of a pen.

The LeNewD has four principal components.

1. A Controlled Food & Beverage Schedule

This concept goes right to the heart of the problem. Obesity is primarily the result of sugar-sweetened beverages and processed foods with hyperappetitive qualities. That’s because this stuff simply tastes so good that it’s addictive. Big Food used to admit this, but now they’ve become sly about it.

So the controlled food and beverage schedule will follow the example of controlled drugs. All beverages other than water will be controlled substances. Unsweetened, but tasty beverages will be subject to minimal controls in Class III. Any sugar or sweetness will put all other drinks into Class II. And then combination products that mix sugar with other addictive substances (caffeine or alcohol) will be in Class I.

The control schedules for foods will be comparable, using four dimensions: palatability, calorie density, animal products, and processing. High calorie, tasty, meaty, and highly processed foods will be in schedule I. Less problematic foods will be in schedules II and III.

2. Sweeping Taxes on Controlled Foods & Beverages

Sweeping taxes on foods and beverages will put some teeth in this deal to make it work. Those taxes will range from ten percent for Class III foods and beverages to 30 percent for Class I. This might sound regressive, but we all know that obesity is regressive.

With the LeNewD, low income families won’t have to worry about obesity and diabetes anymore. Foods and beverages without the disgusting palatability of controlled foods and beverages will be cheap and plentiful.

3. Curbs on Motorized Transportation

Another problem with other efforts to curb obesity is that they overlooked the problem of physical inactivity. No more. The LeNewD will put sweeping restrictions on motorized transportation. People with disabilities, of course, can apply for exemptions.

This alone will bring a 100 percent increase in routine physical activity, said Winburne.

4. Software Controls for Glowing Rectangles

The tech industry doesn’t get a pass either. Immersive and engaging software and new tech devices will get heavy scrutiny. The worst offenders will be subject to mandatory software controls. Boring apps will get a light regulatory touch.

An Ambitious Vision

It’s an ambitious plan, but as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez remarked when she embraced it, this is not a time to be timid. “We’re on the wrong track and we need bold steps to correct it,” she said. “Remember, this is an aspirational vision for the future, not actual legislation.”

Click here for more details on the Lean New Deal.

Tofurky, photograph by tifotter / flickr

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April 1, 2019

5 Responses to “A Lean New Deal to Reverse the Obesity Syndemic”

  1. April 01, 2019 at 7:47 am, Neva Cochran said:

    You almost had me, Ted!! As I was reading the first paragraph to my husband, he said “it’s an April fools joke.” We were just talking yesterday about how you had done that last year.

  2. April 01, 2019 at 10:42 am, Robyn Flipse said:

    I’m laughing away all those excess calories from Class l foods and beverages!

  3. April 01, 2019 at 12:56 pm, Donna Kasznel said:

    I figured it was a joke as soon as I read that Mitch McConnell had embraced it. The Senior senator from my state would never align himself with any policy that would impact climate change (because Global Warmin is a hoax and fake news…) But I do like your clever name: “Lean New Deal”

  4. April 01, 2019 at 2:24 pm, Allen Browne said:

    Happy April Fool’s Day!!!

  5. April 01, 2019 at 2:31 pm, Angela Golden said:

    The best April Fools Day post!!! Great job Ted – too bad some of it couldn’t work out, haha.