And no. I am not talking about people from Poland. Everyone knows they are not to be trusted. I am also not talking about Hillary vs. Barack, as everyone knows those pollsare fabricated. I am talking about the poll on my main page asking whether or not obesity is a problem. It turns out that 2/3rds of the nearly 400 folks who responded think it is not. These results contradict other polls that I cite in the book where about 2/3rds state that obesity is a big problem. How can that be? Well, one obvious answer is that people who find their way to my website are not representative of the general population and therefore their results are highly biased. It would be like asking a bunch of people from Boston who their favorite football team is and then concluding that America’s team is the New England Patriots. This is clearly incorrect as every one knows that America’s team is the Philadelphia Eagles, at least that is my team. So, what is the value of these polls. Well, they are valuable for making statements of those who take the poll, but useless for trying to make out of sample predictions. So, of those who found my site and took the survey, 2/3rds believe that obesity is not a problem. 1/3rd believes it is. For the general population, results are likely to be very different and our survey offers no insight into that question.
One thing that I am hopeful of is that some of these 2/3rds read my book so they are making an informed vote. I wonder what percent of the 2/3rds who said it is not a problem are actually obese? That might make for an interesting next survey, assuming I could figure out how to do that. For the record, I think obesity is a problem. As discussed in the book, I think obesity is a real problem among our youth that should be addressed via government policy. I also think obesity is bad for those businesses who are not in the business of profiting off of obese consumers. Businesses should (and do) worry about obesity the same way they worry about the high costs of health insurance. I expect they will increasingly take actions to address obesity in the workforce. Some of which will be hotly debated but the truth is thata healthier workforce (unless it comes at significant cost) is good for business. I also think obesity is a problem for government who has to pay the high costs of excess weight. Of course, as discussed in the book, the solutions to these problems are not obvious. Now, is obesity a problem for the obese individual, I also think the answer is yes, just perhaps less so than the problems that would arise if the individual were forced to lose weight. More food for thought.