By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – It’s been a busy year for Beacon Hill bureaucrats in their war against childhood obesity, a widely-acknowledged epidemic with terrible financial and social costs.

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Gov. Patrick cited that war as partial motivation for his proposed tax hikes on candy and tonic.

And now the administration is cracking down on a range of fattening foods that kids are exposed to with regulations due to take effect for the next school year that restrict what kids can snack on during the school day.

They’re also trying to stop the flow of high-sugar, high-fat foods to kids at bake sales, fundraising drives, and other common social events.

And some folks are furious about it.

“Bake Sale Ban” makes a snappy headline, and taps right into our deep-seated suspicion and resentment of the nanny state, dictating details of our lives we’d just as soon handle ourselves, all for our own good, of course.

I understand this reaction. I feel about chocolate chip cookies the way Charlton Heston felt about his guns – if you want to take them away from me, you’ll have to pry them from my cold, dead hands.

But maybe the bake sale ban deserves more than to be just another petty grievance we nurse against the nanny state.

There is no dispute that there’s a fast-growing obesity problem requiring an aggressive solution before it kills too many of us and bankrupts the rest.

If you complain about soaring health-care costs, you’re also complaining about the obesity crisis.

And even though we’ve known this was a problem for some time now, the continuing crisis suggests we the people aren’t doing enough about it on our own.

The state didn’t create a nutritional vacuum and a culture of binge eating – we the people did.

Experience tells us the state will be an at-best awkward, at worst overly-intrusive shepherd of our recovery.

But before we start trashing them for stepping in, maybe we should acknowledge that they’re doing it because we failed to.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.

Jon Keller

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