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Pick One: Obesity Or Smoking

I came across this interesting perspective about the current state of American health in the New York Times, my favorite newspaper in the world, that argues the obesity crisis in America has emerged largely because people traded one poison -- smoking -- for a "less lethal" vice -- eating unhealthy food.

According to a CDC statistician, the proof can be found in the steep decline of smokers. Over one 10-period (1973-83), the weight of the average middle-age American fell by more than 2 pounds. The trend sharply reversed, however, from 1980-2000 as the average American weight spiralled upward nearly 20 POUNDS!

The essay points out, if this hypothesis is correct, the rising rate of obesity could be "a classic case of unintended consequences" in which medical and public health warnings worked at cross-purposes. Even more surprising: A 10 percent rise in cigarette prices translates to 2 percent rise in the obesity rate. The numbers could get even more frightening if you factor in those who never smoked at all due to vigorous antismoking campaigns.

One expert argues it's "healthier" for Americans to have a bigger waistline if it means many more people aren't smoking, which is just as crazy. As many of you may know, I believe eating sugar is WORSE for you than smoking.

To help smokers, or sugar addicts, successfully quit and maintain a healthy diet, I strongly recommend the Emotional Freedom Technique, the effective energy psychology tool I use daily in my practice.

New York Times December 19, 2004

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