Cheap Eats Needn't Mean Fatty Doom

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Sally Squires' Washington Post article "The Cost of Compliance" (February 22) dished a healthy dose of reality to those who suggest that the obesity crisis in this country is the fault of big business trying to dump cheap, unhealthy foods on an all-too-susceptible public.

Obesity is a real problem and requires a reasonable and scientifically sound approach we can all take seriously. Lawsuits against fast food companies, efforts to restrict food advertising, and demonization of soda (even diet soda) are all one big red herring.

Super Size Me viewers, or readers of Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation, Marion Nestle's Food Politics, or Greg Critser's Fat Land: How Americans Became the Fattest People in the World, will erroneously conclude that the obesity problem is the result of the availability of too much food, too many choices, and the low price of many items the Food Police deem unhealthy.

However, as Ms. Squires demonstrates, the components of a healthful diet are also easily available and low in cost -- it is up to the public to choose to incorporate them into their diets. Add in the missing ingredient, exercise, and we've got a recipe for success.

Jeff Stier is an Associate Director of the American Council on Science and Health.