Uncle Sam Wants You to Lose 20 Pounds

family fun fitness
It's Family Fun Fitness Time!!!

Obesity costs America billions and billions of dollars each and every year.

budget-deficitAnd, in case you hadn’t heard it, America is having a little trouble balancing it’s books lately.

So, in an effort to trim the fat and earn some tax dollars, America is going to war against obesity.

And, damn it, this is a war that America is determined to win.

And here’s how they’re going to do it…..starting from the top and working our way down to your local city government.

jones-soda-orange-you-glad-for-change-obama-labelPresident Obama

The Federal Government

  • Obesity will likely be addressed in the new healthcare bill, but to what extent is anybody’s guess at this point.
  • In addition to the info, they also fund 25 states to help them combat obesity on a state level.

State Governments

At the state level, the story is very similar.

  • Lots of info on a gov’t anti-obesity website.
  • Grants given to fat fighting municipalities.
  • Sin taxes are also being discussed
  • But unlike the feds, state governments are enacting anti-obesity bylaws.

(see Soda Tax, Restaurant Menu Bylaw)

Municipal Governments

On a municipal level, we get programs like Activate Omaha’s Kids

activate omaha kids

Programs designed by kind and caring people.

Programs with lots of information about how to lose weight and lists of the resources available in the community to help you actually do it.

As well, to some degree, you see municipal governments working with taxes and grants in an attempt to influence behavior.

On a personal note, up here in socialist Canada, our governments look after our each and every need (sarcasm).

Here’s what Toronto’s government is doing about making Toronto into Canada’s Fittest City.

get your move on

Note – if you were actually expecting anything other than announcements and promises, I am sorry to disappoint you. Our government is just as ineffective as your government.

My Conclusion

It’s all a bunch of crap.

Every overweight person alive knows that in order to lose weight, they need to stop doing what they are currently doing and start doing what their physically fit neighbors are doing.

Being overweight doesn’t make you stupid.

All of the money and effort being spent on information programs and taxes and websites is a complete waste unless….it is acted upon.

And that is the problem that no one is addressing.

How do we get people to actually get up off their butts and get their move on?

  1. We need to realize that reducing obesity is in the best interest of everyone, not just the people that need to lose weight. Lowered taxes, higher productivity, etc…
  2. We need to realize that overweight people really, really, really want to lose weight. For a bunch of reasons, they are just not very good at it.
  3. Calling them lazy isn’t going to help. It’s just going to make them sad and the next thing you know, they are drowning their sorrows in a pint of Chunky Monkey.
  4. We need to reduce the barriers to exercise and healthy food. Make healthy food cheaper via the redistribution of government food subsidies. Offer free community fitness classes…that’s right, I said free. Make lots of those classes available at peak hours. Offer free transit to and from the classes.
  5. Keep providing helpful weight loss info on those flashy gov’t websites…or just send them over to HealthHabits. your choice.
  6. We need to make healthy eating and exercise cool. Here’s where the gov’t can spend some money trying to brainwash us ala Canada’s 1970s Participaction ads 
  7. We need to pay for results via tax incentives

If anyone has any other suggestions or knows of any interesting grassroots campaigns or just thinks that I am full of it, please leave a comment.

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6 comments

  1. You’re right on with this. At no point in the history of this country have people been more educated about what it takes to lose weight. Nonetheless we are collectively the heaviest we’ve ever been. Self-motivation doesn’t seem to work. We need to find what gets people going and your list is definitely a step in the right direction.

  2. Dave,

    Thanks for the comment.

    I just took a quick look at your site….very interesting!
    I have to run..late for a client, but I will give it a longer look this evening

  3. How about instead of taxing junk food and soda, the government could just stop subsidizing corn?

    The the price would go up and the government wouldn’t have to pay to keep it down.

  4. Spot On! Government is not capable of handling this….in fact Government is committing assisted suicide by paying medicare and medicade fees for Blood pressure and diabetes meds for the obese so the non-compliant don’t need to change their lifestyle. Why not try the following…..upon diagnosis you have a full year to lose 10% of your excess body fat through nutrition and exercise changes….fail to comply and you begin to pay 10% of the cost of your meds. Year 2 goes to 20%, year three 30%. Why continue to supplement obesity? Adult onset diabetes and high BP have been reversed through diet and exercise….anyone that is at goal weight (and that means goal FAT levels) that cannot control their diabetes and High BP deserves 100% of their fees covered, the rest need to stop eating cake.

  5. I am beginning with the assumption that there is nothing good that government can’t screw up- an assumption that has proved true numerous times. No doubt all of this will be based on BMI. For example, my wife’s state health care (as a public school teacher) is looking to cut costs. So what did they do? They jacked up prices this year and in the 2010-2011 school year they will begin giving discounts to those whose BMI falls within a “healthy range.”

    I am worried that the crudeness of BMI as a measurement over other measurements (like waist circumference, hip to waist ratio, etc.) will mean plenty of people who are otherwise healthy will pay the increased rates as if they were unhealthy and posed increased risk to the state insurance plan.

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