Follow the Money — Addendum

When I wrote my most recent piece, Follow the Money, I cobbled together so much information that it became too long, with too many extended quotes. I knew when I hit the Publish button that it needed more work, but I had become impatient — I’d worked on it for two days already. Anyway, I revised it again yesterday and now it’s done.

There was one part I cut though, that I think is important, regarding public health initiatives and personal responsibility:

    In the food arena, a great example of this would be in New York City, where the health department has banned trans fats in restaurants. So if you go to New York now, you can’t get trans fats in the restaurants. Now you could try to solve that problem of people eating trans fats, and having heart disease as a consequence of it, by personal responsibility. You could say, “Okay, well, let’s educate people about trans fats.” But it’s a pretty hard concept to understand. Restaurants would have to label them. People would have to have options within restaurants, trans fat versus no trans fat. And you see you’d have this complex, burdensome system that would never work. And so, that would be an example where personal responsibility wouldn’t get the job done but government intervention would. And so, in New York City, they’ve decided that we can’t default to personal responsibility there, we need to take action. And that would be an example of a real success story from a public health point of view.