Obesity is a 'big' (pardon the pun) problem in the Pacific Islands. In fact, a recent World Bank study found that over half the adult population in 16 of the 17 Pacific Island countries and territories were obese while over 75% of the population was obese in 11 of those counties.
So what do you do when you just can't count on citizens to make sound judgements about their own personal health decisions? Well, you call in the Nanny State to ban sodas and sugary snacks, of course...which, according to the New York Times, is exactly what the tiny Pacific island nation of Vanuatu is doing.
While many governments struggle to ban soda to curb obesity, the tiny Torba Tourism Council in the remote Pacific island nation of Vanuatu is planning to outlaw all imported food at government functions and tourist establishments across the province’s 13 inhabited islands.
Provincial leaders hope to turn them instead into havens of local organic food. The ban, scheduled to take effect in March, comes as many Pacific island nations struggle with an obesity crisis brought on in part by the overconsumption of imported junk food.
“We want to ban all other junk food from this province,” Luke Dini, the council’s chairman and a retired Anglican priest, said in a telephone interview from Torba. He said the province had about 9,000 residents and got fewer than 1,000 tourists a year, mostly Europeans.
Not surprisingly, so-called "public health experts" have praised Vanuatu's ban on imported food while blasting international consumer goods companies for "exploiting these nations by providing a food supply that is not, in the long term, better for health" while "decimating" local populations.
Public health experts who study the island nations of the Pacific welcomed the ban, saying that bold measures were necessary for an impoverished and isolated region of 10 million people — one where the cost of sending legions of patients abroad for dialysis treatment or kidney transplants is untenable.
“Imagine if 75 million Americans had diabetes — that’s the scale of the epidemic we’re talking about in Vanuatu,” Roger Magnusson, a professor of health law and governance at Sydney Law School in Australia, said in an email.
“Can anyone seriously say that Vanuatu doesn’t have the right to exercise its health sovereignty in every way possible to protect its population from an epidemic of that scale?” he added.
“It is so wrong what is being done to exploit these nations by providing a food supply that is not, in the long term, better for health,” said Elaine Rush, a professor of nutrition at the Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand who has studied health problems in the Pacific islands. She described the effect that the health crisis was having on families there as “decimating.”
Of course, there are just a couple of small problems with the "evil corporation" theory as presented by "public health experts" and the New York Times. Unfortunately, while the "health experts" would like for you to believe that obesity is a new problem plaguing the people of the Pacific islands, as Wendy Snowden of the World Health Organization points out, in reality obesity rates on these islands were simply "higher to start with." Moreover, as Snowden also notes, one other small problem is that no level of "taxes and prohibitions" on sugary food products has "been able to demonstrate reductions in obesity prevalence."
Still, Dr. Snowdon said, the taxes and prohibitions on drinks in the Pacific islands — along with education, food labeling and school-nutrition programs — have not reduced the region’s overall incidence of obesity or its associated health problems.
"No country in the world has been able to demonstrate reductions in its obesity prevalence, so we’re not that different,” she said. “It’s just that our levels are higher to start with.”
But rest assured, dear citizens of the world, that your Nanny State's aggressive, invasive policies stripping you of your basic personal liberties are intended for your own good and are in no way a meaningless attempt to cram their liberal agendas down your throat at all costs, irrespective of scientific data proving their complete lack of effectiveness in achieving their stated goals.