I’ve been involved professionally in food and nutrition for most of my adult life. Recent reports that obesity and type 2 diabetes rates are rising—relentlessly—is not news to me. Nor is it news to anyone who can read.

And, although obesity rates overall have slowed down, too many of our kids are sick and, worse, being sentenced to a state of illness that will eat up significant time, money and resources for the majority of their lives. That’s the unprecedented part.

Albert Einstein is credited with defining insanity as “doing the same thing, in the same way, over and over again and expecting different results.” When I shifted 25 years ago from creating food to writing about it, food and beverage manufacturers were blamed for the childhood obesity epidemic and were threatened with regulations. Well, an entire generation has been raised; they are now raising their own children under this paradigm. The policy wonks keep doing the same thing over and over again, apparently expecting different results.

Two recent stories demonstrate the next stage of failure in addressing the epidemic. First, New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg is trying to ban “large ‘sugary’ beverages.” Meanwhile, the FDA declared high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) may not change its designation to “corn sugar.” It’s just so much more warped prioritizing in an election year where a nuclear Iran, terrorism, war and economic collapse all have to take a back seat to whether or not two people in love with each other, but having the same parts, can get married and be miserable just like the rest of us.

I do not want the food police in my kitchen any more than I want the religion police in my bedroom. Why not ban beans, because they make people emit offensive gases? Oh, and ethnic food! Let’s ban all ethnic food, because, gee, it smells so...so...DIFFERENT!

Insanity. Coke does not make people obese any more than sitting in a church makes someone a priest or eating makes someone a nutrition expert. I’m not overweight; why do I have to be punished? And, as for corn syrup, if HFCS—a glucose-fructose polymer—can’t call itself sugar, then glucose-fructose polymers from beets and from cane should, ipso facto, also be banned from being called sugar. As for childhood obesity/diabetes, there is—and always has been—only one solution: Parents are going to have to actually act like parents. pf