Dan Gilmore / August 8, 2015

Michelle Obama’s ‘Let’s Move’ May Encourage Weight Gain

Nanny state, meet human nature.

First lady Michelle Obama’s crusade against obesity faces another challenge: How does the “Let’s Move” program convince people to lose weight, to live healthy lives, without making them feel so bad about their body shape that it makes them stress eat and gain weight? Nanny state, meet human nature. A group of researchers have discovered that overweight people who were not told they were a bit on the chunky side gained less weight than those who were told they were overweight. One of the researchers, Eric Robinson of the Institute of Psychology at Liverpool University, told The Guardian, “Realising you are an overweight individual is in itself likely to be quite stressful and make making healthy choices in your lifestyle more difficult. It is a tricky finding for public health intervention work. You would hope that making a person aware they are overweight would result in them being more likely to change and lose some weight.” The best intentions of the nanny state may go sideways when it proposes top-down solutions to problems it defines in the purview of public health. The reality is, though, that bad habits can only be broken by people who want to change. But Hillary Clinton might have a solution to this public health dilemma: Why don’t we put everyone in fun camps?

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