Connecting Fast-Food Dots

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A May 10, 2006 letter to the editor in the Washington Times denounced an earlier piece by ACSH's Dr. Elizabeth Whelan:

Elizabeth Whelan's Commentary column ("Slow burn on fast food," Saturday) crystallizes the ongoing controversy regarding our nation's obesity epidemic. As she states, this is indeed a complex problem, and it will require complex solutions. In her commentary, however, [Dr.] Whelan unfortunately discounts any changes by fast-food establishments as potential contributions to such solutions.

If at all concerned about the health of our nation, [Dr.] Whelan should be eminently concerned with the eating habits of our society. Indeed, childhood obesity has grown from less than 5% in 1980 to more than 16% today. Seventy percent of Americans will die of a chronic disease such as diabetes, cancer, or heart disease that is closely linked to eating habits.

When [Dr.] Whelan compares a fast-food meal to a burger meal at home, she misses the larger point: We should be educating all Americans to eat healthier foods, whether in the home or outside of it...

Unfortunately, in [Dr.] Whelan's eagerness to debunk Eric Schlosser, she cavalierly pardons fast-food restaurants from playing any role in the current obesity crisis...

PAUL TIBBITS JR.
Washington