Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Opinion

June 18, 2012

TIDBITS: You can’t legislate skinny

CROSSVILLE — Can legislators help constituents curb calories, increase activity and trim those waistlines? New York City has proposed banning super-sized soft drinks from restaurants, movie theaters, sports arenas and delis. Anything larger than a 16 ounce beverage would be banned.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the Board of Health say the move is a way to fight obesity, a public health issue on which the city spends billions each year.

I wonder if Mayor Bloomberg and his council ever heard of free refills?

Yes, obesity is at epidemic proportions in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control reports more than one-third of U.S. adults, a whopping 35.7 percent, are obese. And that number is on the rise. In 2000, no state had an obesity prevalence greater than 30 percent. In 2010, 12 states were above that mark.

Yes, obesity is a risk factor in a myriad of health conditions and diseases, including diabetes and heart disease. The CDC estimates the medical costs associated with obesity at $147 billion.

Yes, high-calorie, sugary drinks don't do anything to help those two points. If you drink a 20-ounce sodey pop, not the diet variety, three times a day, that's going to add about 750 calories to your daily total. It wouldn't take long for those extra calories to become extra pounds.

Yes, water is better for you than soda. Of course water is better for you. It hydrates your body. It flushes toxins from your body. It can combat tiredness and headaches and aid in digestion.

But riddle me this — are people just going to stop drinking those soft drinks because the mayor and some folks tell them to? Um, no.

You can't legislate someone slender. It doesn't work that way. You can provide the information, educate them on the risks and even provide help for them to get slender. But you can't pass laws and make people lose weight.

I suppose this is the next bandwagon, now that anti-smoking laws have swept the nation. Once upon a time, individual businesses were allowed to decide if they would be smoking or non-smoking. Then, the state of Tennessee took that decision away from them. Did it curb smoking? As a smoker, I can tell you all it really did was annoy me and make me reconsider where I went to spend my money. Sorry to say, but some of those no smoking establishments lost my business because I wanted to be able to light up.

As a smoker, I can tell you I want to quit. I've quit several times and have recently quit again. But the fact the state was making it more difficult for me wasn't a reason for quitting.

I wanted to quit because I could tell those cancer sticks were affecting my health. I'm a reasonably fit person who was starting to get winded walking my dog down the street. I also added up how much was spent on those cigarettes each month and was none too happy with what that figure was. I got tired of having cigarette burns in my clothes and my car, of my hair smelling bad and of having yellow teeth.

But quitting just to get people to stop nagging me? That usually just ignited my stubborn streak and I'd keep right on puffing away.

Education is the key to turning the tide in the tobacco fight. It's also the key to fighting obesity.

The United States Department of Agriculture is currently rewarding schools that implement higher nutritional standards in their school lunch programs. Cumberland County has two winners in the Healthy U.S. Schools Challenge. These programs not only offer more nutritious foods, but they also work with the schools to provide education on better food choices and on the importance of physical activity. Crab Orchard Elementary was named a Touchdown School this past year for its success implementing the Fuel Up 2 Play 60 program in its school, and earned two visits from professional football players. That program used a combination of nutrition education with planned physical activities to get the kids moving. They took those lessons home, too, and tracked their activity and meals online.

It was done in a fun way, all year long. That's the kind of message that sticks.

Perhaps New York should consider better education initiatives on healthy eating and physical activity before they resort to prohibition.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • LION AND THE LAMB: Four ways to demonstrate opposition

    Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan mention in their book, “The Last Week,” that Roman-occupied Palestine during the first century was under the control of Pontius Pilate who lived in the coastal city of Caesarea. Each year at the beginning of the Passover observance when Jews celebrated their liberation from Egypt, Pilate feared that they might be getting ideas about revolting from Rome, so he would come with additional soldiers on horses to beef up the Roman garrison in Jerusalem. 

    April 15, 2014

  • WE THE PEOPLE: Is it (new) party time?

    The Democratic and Republican parties are toast, according to Joe Trippi. The Republican Party is coming apart at its Tea Party seam. Democratic candidates struggle to celebrate President Obama’s health care successes, while responding to criticism of his failed promises, e.g., government transparency.

    April 15, 2014

  • TIDBITS: I found it at the library

    I have such fond memories of going to my local library as a child, searching through shelf after shelf and finding a book that would make me a Little Princess in World War II England, or bring me along as Nancy Drew solved the Secret in the Old Attic.

    April 14, 2014

  • STUMPTALK: The reason words have meaning

    If words did not have accepted meanings we would not be able to communicate effectively and civilized society would not exist.

    April 14, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Do we really believe in democracy?

    The recent Supreme Court decision, McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, is in a long line of debates about power in a democracy. Should power be in the hands of all the citizens or should it be in hands of those who have greater wealth and social position?

    April 8, 2014

  • We the People: Public education or business opportunity?

    A month ago, we followed the money trail left by a ‘think tank’ to the major sources funding an attack on our traditional, locally controlled public schools. We saw that a handful of billionaires provide major support to many organizations lobbying for change.

    April 8, 2014

  • Stumptalk: Just another government lie?

    There is a vault located in Fort Knox, Kentucky. It was built in 1936 and encased in 16 cubic feet of granite and 4200 feet of cement. The door is made of 20-inch thick material that is immune to drills, torches and explosives.

    April 7, 2014

  • GARY'S WORLD: The chance to speak your mind

    Are you tired of hearing people complain about the way things are run in Cumberland County? Or, do you like the way the county government is run and operated in our beautiful county?
    Are you happy with the way things are, or would you like some change?

    April 3, 2014

  • LION AND THE LAMB: Digging beneath the headlines

    Our media have been focusing on two important events that have taken place overseas during the last several weeks.

    April 1, 2014

  • WE THE PEOPLE: SNAP, health and work

    A recent letter from Representative Diane Black to me states that she voted for the farm bill (with $8 million in Food Stamp (SNAP) benefit cuts) because she, like me, is a supporter of food stamp benefits for Tennessee families who qualify. That’s a lot of families, as most recipients are families with children and the elderly. Now, recall that there was already a major cut to the food stamp program back in the fall. But for some Republicans, that was not enough.

    April 1, 2014

Marketplace Marquee
Parade
Must Read
Section Teases
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Raw: More Than 100,000 Gather for Easter Sunday Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Weather Radar
2014 Readers' Choice