Dept. of Fatness?

Listen, I know that obesity is a national health problem – it truly can be life threatening when considering the fact that most Type II diabetes cases occur primarily in overweight people. There’™s no question that in cases where proper healthcare and nutrition guidance, counseling and support is available, the chances of taking off [...]

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Listen, I know that obesity is a national health problem – it truly can be life threatening when considering the fact that most Type II diabetes cases occur primarily in overweight people. There’™s no question that in cases where proper healthcare and nutrition guidance, counseling and support is available, the chances of taking off weight (and keeping it off) is enhanced.

But I don’™t think that a state-level government should be using taxpayers dollars to establish an agency that is specifically chartered to deal with with this problem:

New Jersey’™s health department is escalating the battle against the bulge by starting a new Office of Nutrition and Fitness to better coordinate programs to prevent obesity.

The agency is particularly needed in New Jersey ‘” possibly the first state to create such a government body’¦

‘¦the new agency will begin operations within weeks, and may be able to win more federal and private grant money and will coordinate spending of more than $2 million in nutrition and fitness programs, including promoting physical activity at all ages, providing fresh fruit and vegetables to eligible women, children and senior citizens, and encouraging breast-feeding, which can reduce the baby’™s chances of a weight problem later’¦

It’™s not that I’™m lacking compassion for those who are obese, anymore than I would lack compassion for someone with any chronic disease. But it seems to me that obesity-related education and nutrition programs could be easily tucked into existing agencies without creating another layer of bureaucracy.

I’™m the first person to champion social safety nets and programs. This new agency in New Jersey does not meet the ‘œsocial safety net’ test, though. Does NJ have an Office of Cancer Prevention or Department of Broken Bones? Of course not. The money for NJ’™s Department of Fatness could be better allocated to existing programs, with the same (or perhaps even better) results.

Wednesday, May 30th, 2007 by Richard Blair |
Category: General

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