NC Considers In-Home Diet Inspections for Overweight MothersSeptember 11th, 2013
The War on Drugs has demonstrated the degree to which the heavy hand of big government fails at manipulating the health choices of individuals. Despite serious criminal penalties, people continue to use drugs at escalating rates. Meanwhile, the unintended consequences of prohibition harm the public to a greater degree than the drugs themselves.
The government-run North Carolina Institute of Medicine is about to release a report on childhood obesity calling for bureaucrats to conduct weekly in-home visits to check up on the dietary habits of “at risk” (which seems like a code word for overweight) mothers and their children. The proposal recommends that these nutritional nannies keep an eye out for “abuse and neglect,” which may mean that parents could lose their children if the government’s nutritional recommendations are ignored. Obamacare contains a similar provision which provides for forced in-home health inspections for households with young mothers, cigarette smokers, developmentally-challenged children, and war veterans. Obamacare and the War on Childhood Obesity are starting to look more and more like the War on Drugs.
Fundamentally, the government has no right to invade someone’s home and tell them how to eat. In fact, such activity is constitutionally prohibited. Furthermore, the USDA’s food recommendations are themselves controversial, as many experts believe them to be unhealthy and outdated, focusing too much on lowering fat intake and encouraging over-consumption of carbohydrates.
The government’s own ties to Monsanto’s food industrial complex make it a poor enforcer of health habits. The FDA promotes mass-production of processed foods over farm-fresh local fare and favors pharmaceutical drugs over effective holistic alternatives. How long will it take for Monsanto to co-opt these home-visit programs, too?
If the state plans on sending out bureaucrats to monitor the health habits of families that are “at risk” for childhood obesity, what benchmark will it use to determine that level of risk? Will overweight mothers be subjected to special scrutiny, thus increasing the chance that a bureaucrat might report them to Child Protective Services for an arbitrary reason? Some people classified as endormorphs hold higher body fat percentages than others, simply due to genetics.
Could these inspections drive mothers to take extreme dietary measures to prevent their children from being taken away? Since new mothers are the focus of the program, many might turn to eating disorders or drugs to ditch post-pregnancy pounds in hopes of avoiding the attention of bureaucrats.
Obamacare has unleashed a new paradigm in government intervention. Since the state now views healthcare as its responsibility, severe human rights violations could be carried out under the guise of promoting health. Parental rights are under threat. Private healthcare records are being seized by the government.
Will in-home health inspection agents carry firearms and wear Kevlar vests? Most Americans never thought that food and water quality inspections would be carried out in SWAT style, but now they often are. Over time, this new tyrannical approach to public health could begin to take on the most oppressive qualities of the War on Drugs.
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