Thursday, March 14, 2013
I read an article today about how the government is trying to set up subsidized produce markets in “Food Deserts” as part of a plan to combat obesity.
Which lead me to think about the soda bans, the trans-fat bans, the war on smoking, and the war on fast food. Can we really force people to be healthy?
We managed to phase out smoking, right? There were lawsuits and fines, cigarette companies are no longer allowed to advertise. The government offers incentives and programs to help smokers stop. There are even, from what I understand, some states that ban smoking in your own personal car if there are children present.
But I still see people smoking. My brother and mother both still smoke; even after watching my grandfather, aunt, and father die of smoking related illnesses. I see people my age and younger smoking. All the fines, raised taxes, and social stigmas haven’t stopped them.
But the fact is smoking is down.
The reason I chose not to smoke was a combination of factors, 1) When I was a kid I was too stupid to realize it was “cool” so I never started, and 2) I was educated about the effects of smoking in school, on TV, and by watching my father and aunt die from smoking.
But I didn’t have that kind of education about nutrition or fitness. I had my mother telling me that if I didn’t do set-ups I’d never be able to have a baby. (yeah the logic escapes me too) They printed apples under A and Carrots under C, but a Pie under P. We were told to eat vegetables, but never why. And we were told if we ate sugar we’d get fat, but never about all the illnesses.
We can’t overlook how important, true and honest education is. Don’t just tell us it’s “Bad” explain Why, show us pictures, give us the facts.
Now as I learn more about my own body and the effects of a poor diet on my health and my life, I make better choices. It’s not easy, but I’m committed to the changes I choose to make. It’s about me and my choices, not about what the government thinks I should be doing.