The existence of the ‘obesity epidemic’ and the typical ‘solutions’ for it help to prop up a number of industries. Obviously, the weight loss diet industry is a huge winner here, especially since research shows that even when fat people know that crash diets don’t work they still end up seeking help from companies who take their hard-earned money for little gain (or loss) simply because official government and medical information lacks optimism, usefulness or ongoing support. (More on that another day).
But the ‘diet industry’ are not the only winners. All kinds of economic imperatives are tied up in wanting people to worry about their weight or ‘battle the bulge’. The net result of this is that fat-hate is everywhere. Today I was flicking through the paper whilst enjoying my post-workout coffee at the gym (yes, I did just have to throw that in there) when I came across this article. It seems Canberra Uni are taking the (in my view, quite sensible) step of no longer selling bottled water on campus. Instead, students and staff will have access to more free water taps for their own refill purposes, or the option of buying chilled mineral water to decant into reusable bottles. Given the impact of bottled water sales on the environment and how easy it is to just reuse a bottle over and over, I think more campuses and businesses should be heading down this route.
Unsurprisingly, the Australasian Bottled Water Institute (Institute? Are they kidding? Is that located next to the Ponds Institute?) don’t like the idea. They need to push product. And the easy way to do that? Invoke the folk terror of the day, OBESITY BOOGA BOOGA. This is a flimsy argument at best (where is the evidence to say that people will pay money for a soft drink instead of water when there is cheaper water than before?) and a cynical one to boot. People who already drink soft drink will continue to do so. People who already choose water over the array of other drinks on offer will probably continue to do so. And guess what? Some thin people drink only sugary drinks and some fat people drink only water and a whole lot of people drink a mixture of both depending on mood and hunger and time of day and what colour socks they are wearing.
I know. Incredible stuff.
Even so, the Institute is Concerned about this Very Serious Business.
”The University of Canberra needs to be thinking about what this means for the waistlines of its students,” Mr Parker said.
No, Mr Parker, just no. I think tertiary-level students are more than capable of considering their own waistlines, or not, all on their own. They say that a waist is a terrible thing to mind. I say, someone else’s waist is… none of your fucking business.