Sunday, October 25, 2009

Peter Ubel's book Free Market Madness

At a Harvard University Connected Health Meeting recently, I met Dr. Peer Ubel, author of Free Market Madness: Why Human Nature Is at Odds with Economics--and Why It Matters. I spoke to him and he is fascinating. He is a physician and expert on human behavior. He stressed that many people who should watch their weight eat fattening food because of its low cost.

I have not read the book yet. He is for taxing sugary sodas and junk food. I believe you an eat a little of what you want if you are in touch with your body, also eat healthy food and exercise, but I can be okay with a little taxation of "junk food". I admit I smoke a little and the price in New York city keeps me form buying cigarettes all the time. I am also for healthier lunch options for children in school.

Another scientist at the event pointed out how it is much cheaper to buy a hamburger than to get a healthy salad. That is true in this city: even McDonald's is expensive, at about $7.00 for a meal, and a salad, especially one with chicken or fish, can cost $7.00 to $15.00 at a simple food cafeteria. Dr. Nicholas A. Christakis, Md, PhD, spoke about how social networks influence obesity: You are more likely to be obese if it is acceptable by those around you. He wrote Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives.

One hypothesis I have is that if most images of women on fitness and fashion magazines were not very thin and muscular, and some more curves were shown, many women would not give up on dieting and be obese. He agreed, and thought that some images are anorexic.

I plan to read Dr. Ubel's book.

My third book, Pocket Guide to Fitness, is available on,, and If you look up my name on those Web sites, you will find my other books The Boy in a Wheelchair and Life, Work and Play: Poems and Short Stories.

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