After All This Time, Politicians & Public Officials Still Won’t Talk About Improving Personal Health

If they really wanted the best for everyone, they would have pushed for an unprecedented focus on reducing obesity, increasing exercise, and strengthening our health & resilience. Instead, they’ve focused only on control.

We are a year and a half into the COVID-19 pandemic.

Yet, it would appear our politicians and public officials have learned nothing.

Confusion and mistakes at the start of a crisis are inevitable. Indeed, trial and error in a crisis is usually how we start to find our way through it.

But a year and a half in, there is no excuse for what continues to be a draconian and authoritarian approach.

As you have seen, the focus of public officials and politicians has been on restrictions, lockdowns, and now, vaccine mandates.

Everything they do is about restricting individual freedom and imposing state-mandates on the population.

Ostensibly, they do this to ‘save lives.’

They also claim to be ‘following the science.’

And yet, they continue to ignore the biggest controllable risk factor for COVID.

Consider this article from September 8, 2020 in Science:

“Since the pandemic began, dozens of studies have reported that many of the sickest COVID-19 patients have been people with obesity. In recent weeks, that link has come into sharper focus as large new population studies have cemented the association and demonstrated that even people who are merely overweight are at higher risk. For example, in the first metaanalysis of its kind, published on 26 August in Obesity Reviews, an international team of researchers pooled data from scores of peer-reviewed papers capturing 399,000 patients. They found that people with obesity who contracted SARS-CoV-2 were 113% more likely than people of healthy weight to land in the hospital, 74% more likely to be admitted to an ICU, and 48% more likely to die.

A constellation of physiological and social factors drives those grim numbers. The biology of obesity includes impaired immunity, chronic inflammation, and blood that’s prone to clot, all of which can worsen COVID-19. And because obesity is so stigmatized, people with obesity may avoid medical care.

“We didn’t understand early on what a major risk factor obesity was. … It’s not until more recently that we’ve realized the devastating impact of obesity, particularly in younger people,” says Anne Dixon, a physician-scientist who studies obesity and lung disease at the University of Vermont. That “may be one reason for the devastating impact of COVID-19 in the United States, where 40% of adults are obese.””

The risk from obesity is exacerbated by the many other illnesses that obesity can cause:

“People with obesity are more likely than normal-weight people to have other diseases that are independent risk factors for severe COVID-19, including heart disease, lung disease, and diabetes. They are also prone to metabolic syndrome, in which blood sugar levels, fat levels, or both are unhealthy and blood pressure may be high. A recent study from Tulane University of 287 hospitalized COVID-19 patients found that metabolic syndrome itself substantially increased the risks of ICU admission, ventilation, and death.

But on its own, “BMI [body mass index] remains a strong independent risk factor” for severe COVID-19, according to several studies that adjusted for age, sex, social class, diabetes, and heart conditions, says Naveed Sattar, an expert in cardiometabolic disease at the University of Glasgow. “And it seems to be a linear line, straight up.””

The biggest risk factor for COVID is age.

But we can’t control age.

That leaves obesity as the biggest risk factor that can be controlled, or at least influenced.

Yet, a discussion of this has been absent from our leaders and public officials – the very people who should be talking about it non-stop.

Completely absent.

It has been left to people like myself, Joe Rogan, and regular, common-sense people to bring this up:

Now, some may say “it’s not the job of the government to talk about obesity or personal health.”

However, in the past year and a half we’ve watched the government claim it can tell us when we can leave our homes, whether we can travel, demand government-issued ID for things like going to a store or event, shut down businesses, throw people in jail for gathering to worship, and more.

That was all in-your-face coercion, a ruthless expression of state power in opposition to individual rights.

In comparison to that, incentivizing people to get in shape would be far less intrusive, and far more beneficial.

Imagine if the government had sent out a credit to every Canadian that could be used to buy exercise equipment.

Imagine if they funded outdoor gyms and exercise centres during the summer.

Imagine if they subsidized healthy foods.

Imagine if they provided tax credits for people who grew food in their backyards.

Imagine if they ran ad campaigns encouraging exercise.

Imagine if they mandated that schools drastically increase physical education for youth.

Imagine if they ran a wide-scale ad campaign warning of the link between obesity & negative Covid outcomes.

Imagine if politicians like Doug Ford had gone on a weight-loss journey as an example to others, rather than just impose restrictions.

Imagine if all of this was done, and we saw this crisis as a moment in which we could reverse some of the horrible health trends in our society.

Control instead of Empowerment

But instead, our leaders ignored all of this.

Worse, they actively went in the other direction. They shut down gyms, told people not to gather, even for outdoor exercise in many cases, and failed to acknowledge that obesity is such a big risk.

Rather than do things that could give individuals a sense of empowerment, and rather than make our population more resilient and more independent, those in power decided to expand their control over the population.

Rather than seek to generate more independence, they are purposely entrenching dependence.

And we see the results.

So many people are now acting as if they are completely helpless, and are waiting for the government to ‘do something.’

This feeling of powerlessness generates rage, and we can see that rage being directed towards individuals who are unvaccinated.

This is what politicians and public officials want:

A populace dependent, divided, and angry, too scared and fearful to seek independence and too full of rage to notice the failures of our ‘leaders.’

In the short-term, this gives politicians more power.

In the long-term, it is devastating for our country and our society.

No society that is physically weak and emotionally dependent on state authority can thrive or prosper.

For Canada to have a strong future, we need a strong population, and we need a country where people are independent-minded, think for themselves, and where leaders seek to empower people, rather than control them.

Spencer Fernando

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