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A Regulatory Position

Posted on 04/7/2009

We are in the midst of a great obesity epidemic, a crisis threatening us individually and collectively.  What can we—the American people—do to protect our life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness?

Well, I’m just one person with an opinion. My mission is to help people fight the obesity epidemic, and I have been on the front lines for more than two decades. 

Today, I’m writing about what government—at all levels—can do.  Obviously, the subject requires more than the few hundred words I have budgeted.

Since I’m searching for a real solution to a real problem, I’m going to make a major suggestion and then highlight a few possible specific solutions.

The United States needs to establish an End the National Obesity Epidemic task force.  Yes, as part of his emphasis on finding a national health care solution, President Obama needs to form a working commission dedicated to achieving practical results that help people and the country fight obesity and its myriad of negative health consequences.  It needn’t cost much.  I would be glad to volunteer and I’m sure many would join.  

And the cost benefits of its successes would measure billions and billions of dollars.  In fact, emphasizing practical solutions to reduce and eliminate obesity might just save enough money to help us solve our overall health care problem.

Who should be on such a task force?  I’m asking my readers to nominate people whose intelligence, energy, and dedication would help bypass the usual gnarly political selfishness.  We have to solve this problem and the best way to do so is to forge a citizen’s commission that is not ensnared in excessive partisanship.

The best answer will be to mix resources from government and the private sector.  That’s why I think we should include on the End the National Obesity Epidemic task force the leaders of private health clinics associated with national retailers.  I also think we should include one or more Surgeon Generals.  

Again, I eagerly solicit the opinions of my readers.  I repeat: who should be on such a task force?
    
What could be the focus of ENOE?  To a large extent, that has to be self-generated by the task force.  Obviously we need to develop obesity reduction and obesity prevention programs.  Plus I’ve long been a believer that our school lunch program could be used to help our children learn to eat healthier, portion controlled meals.

The fact that we allow fast food industries—and believe me, they are a major part of the problem—to come into our schools and sell their product is unbelievable.  I don’t think we should allow our students so many choices.  What’s wrong with giving them what’s good for them?  More on this in a later blog.

I also think that school boards should require that every student pass a course in nutrition in order to graduate from high school.  Each young person would be required to learn to read labels, and the value of a well-balanced diet, and, most importantly, what can happen when portion control is out of whack.

Ending the national obesity epidemic will require some difficult decisions, both politically and philosophically.  Since the insurance industry is seemingly too short-sighted to incorporate healthy eating and portion control into their treatment programs, the government may have to take a regulatory position on this matter.

I believe in some sort of co-payment system for meal replacement programs.  I know that’s my area, but my concern far surpasses any personal objectives.  The obesity epidemic threatens the welfare of my children and grandchildren.  And it threatens yours.  Something has to be done.  

Don’t think I think that government should simply pay people to eat better.  No, any program I support will help people help themselves.  This means that anyone participating in a co-payment obesity reduction healthy eating program will have to lose weight in order to be eligible for coverage. 

The goal of the task force needs to be: help people lose weight and, at the same time, show them by example how to eat right for the rest of their lives.

More on all this later.  In the meantime, I very much want to hear your opinions.  Thanks.

post-author

Seattle Sutton, BSN, RN

She made healthy eating her mission in life long before anyone else did, in hopes of helping her own obese father. A registered nurse by training and entrepreneur at heart, she lives, eats and breathes everything about healthy eating and helping to improve people’s eating habits and overall health. She enjoys never having to bother with grocery shopping, cooking and counting calories. Her favorite SSHE meal, although it’s hard to pick just one, is the Potato Gnocchi with Basil Pesto Sauce.

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