It’s pretty scary to think that a good many people around the country, but especially here in New Jersey, have such little control over their eating habits that the above headline could ring true.

What to do about it?

Does the nanny state really have to reign us in against our own will?

If obesity rates continue on their current trajectories, nearly half of the adults in New Jersey will be considered not just overweight, but obese, by 2030, according to the latest data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In 2011, 23.7 percent of adults in the state were obese, but the numbers are rising dramatically along with related disease rates and health care costs, officials said.

Over the next 20 years, obesity could contribute to 971,386 new cases of type 2 diabetes, 2,087,173 new cases of coronary heart disease and stroke, 2,177,679 new cases of hypertension, 1,418,265 new cases of arthritis, and 308,035 new cases of obesity-related cancer in New Jersey, according to “F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America's Future 2012,” a report released today by Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

New York City has already taken the proactive approach and limited purchases of sugary sodas to 32 ounces.

Senator Frank Lautenberg, along with Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal and Oregon Senator Ron Wyden have sent a letter to Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, asking her to look into the situation, and analyze how policies regarding sugary beverages could help to curb the obesity epidemic across the country.

Senator Lautenberg points out “as America’s waistline has expanded, so too has our access to sugary drinks, Doctors and public health experts recommend limiting and reducing the consumption of sugary drinks, especially in children, but kids and adults drink twice the amount of soda that they did three decades ago.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 90 million people are overweight or obese in America, and obesity kills more than 110 thousand people every year in this country.

Today’s letter follows-up on Senator Lautenberg’s previous effort to have the federal government investigate the impact of sugary beverages on Americans’ health and obesity.
The letter also comes as the New York City Board of Health votes today on a proposal to bar sales of sodas and other sugary drinks in more than 16 ounce cups or bottles, in movie theaters, restaurants and other public areas.

So here we have the classic conundrum…the health crisis of expanding waistlines vs the personal freedom to make our own food choices.

I believe we are smart enough to do it without the Government stepping in (pardon the pun) whole hog.

Seeing is how cancer is the number one killer in America, and the Government hasn’t taken one of the primary causes of cancer off the market (cigarette smoking – obviously because they still make money off the sale of cigarettes); then perhaps better education as to the food choices we make would do the trick.

Imagine seeing a public service announcement of a man gobbling down a Papa John’s Pizza and watching it congeal alongside the walls of his arteries.

That just might do the trick.

Certainly better than having Lautenberg push for an outright ban on said pizza and Coke.