Dr. Jason Newsom’s public battle against obesity went just a little too far, and it cost him his job.
Newsom has run the Bay County Health Department since returning from Army duty in Iraq. One of his main initiatives has been educating the public about the dangers of obesity.
Considering the toll the obesity epidemic takes on Americans’ health, you’d think Newsom’s bosses would be happy with his campaign. Fat chance.
One of Newsom’s main was an electronic sign outside the Health Department’s office. He often set it up to display anti-obesity messages such as “Sweet Tea = Liquid Sugar,” “Hamburger = Spare Tire” and “French Fries = Thunder Thighs.”
While attacking tea, burgers and fries was all right, it was doughnuts that doomed the doc. When he parodied Dunkin’ Donuts’ slogan “America runs on Dunkin’” with “America dies on Dunkin,” the dough hit the fan.
That was too much for one Bay County commissioner—who happened to own a doughnut shop—and two Panama City attorneys—who had just purchased a Dunkin’ Donuts franchise. Even Newsom’s own employees felt the doc had gone too far, and the Florida Health Department turned up the heat as well. Newsom was forced to resign.
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