America is an unhealthy society, and that has helped make us a fat one. But from a public health standpoint, the problems are too much time at a desk, too much processed food, too many hours at work, too little walking, and a host of other socio-cultural-political elements that incentivize poor habits, not our waistlines.
Ezra doesn’t go nearly far enough. Those “socio-cultural-political elements” are really the aggregate of individuals’ personal choices, and private health doesn’t become public health by mere multiplication. For many people it’s perfectly rational to trade a few extra years at the end of life for a sedentary lifestyle now. That should never be a matter of public business.
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