There was a time when my libertarian leanings would find this objectionable:
Food and beverage companies took another lashing for their purported role in contributing to the childhood obesity crisis this week when the American Academy of Pediatrics called on Congress and the Federal Communications Commission to impose limits on TV ads targeting children.
The Chicago-based AAP, a group of 60,000 primary care doctors who specialize in infants, children and adolescents, published its sweeping recommendations in the December issue of Pediatrics. The report examined advertising in all media, including television, Internet and movies, plus various kid-marketing tactics and health-related concerns over consumption of tobacco, alcohol and drugs.
The conclusion: ‘Advertising represents ‘big business’ in the United States and can have a significant effect on young people,’ the report noted. ‘Advertisements can be restricted or even banned if there is significant public health risk. Cigarette and alcohol advertising would seem to fall squarely into this category, and ads for junk food could easily be restricted.’
These obesity-inducing foods are more deadly than cigarettes. If we can ban the advertising of cigarettes, then why not Twinkies. For the public good, and all that.
At the least, we should have a public debate about this. I think you could make a strong argument that other people’s obesity makes make my taxes and insurance rise — the same argument for making everyone wear their seatbelt.