Tuesday 14 June 2016

Moving the goalposts on malnutrition

As the tweet above indicates, the Global Nutrition Report Stakeholder Group has today launched an assault on the English language. Although nearly everybody understands malnutrition to mean a lack of food, they are now including overweight and obese people in their list of people who are 'malnourished'. This means that most people in Britain are suffering from malnutrition.

It is borderline obscene to draw a moral equivalence between a starving African and a British couch potato but if you look at the figures showing the percentage of people who are underweight worldwide (below), it's pretty obvious why the goalposts are being moved. The Global Nutrition Report Stakeholder Group's stated goal is to 'end malnutrition by 2030'. It's an ambitious target but thanks to the miracle of free market capitalism, it could just happen - but if it does, what will become of the Global Nutrition Report Stakeholder Group?

By redefining malnutrition to include everyone who is obese - and even those who are merely overweight - they can keep the bandwagon going forever. Their new set of demands includes the usual bans and tax that are part and parcel of the 'public health' racket. And - surprise, surprise - they say that their crusade 'must be backed by high-level support and human and financial resources'. In other words, give us more money.

This is all very similar to the way the left have redefined poverty in rich countries, divorcing it from living standards and making it, in effect, a measure of inequality that can only be eradicated through socialism (and not even then, in practice).

The 'public health' racket are particularly keen on this conceit. Consider how 'binge-drinking' has come to mean three glasses in a row when it used to mean a two-day session. Consider how anti-vaping con artists in the US, up to and including the FDA, have redefined tobacco use to include e-cigarette use. Look at the way the definition of 'overweight' changed from a BMI of 27 or more to a BMI of 25 or more in the 1980s. Look at the way safe drinking guidelines in Britain have dropped from 56 units to 14 units in the space of 40 years.

The effect is always the same. It gives activists scary-sounding statistics with which to fool those of us who use words in their correct, uncorrupted meaning (ie. nearly everybody). It detracts attention from the fact that things are getting better on almost every measure. And it means that 'public health' activists can turn their backs on the difficult work of tackling disease and famine, and spend their time campaigning for ineffective regulations in rich countries instead.

Of course, the biggest con of all is the way the term 'public health' itself has been redefined. Whereas once it meant collective action to tackle contagious diseases that individuals could not tackle on their own, it now means coercive paternalism forcing individuals to live government-approved lifestyles. This is the Newspeak of nanny statists. Words lose all meaning in their mouths. The whole movement is a conscious fraud.

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