The Obama Administration is celebrating the second anniversary of the controversial Let’s Move! campaign to combat the rise in obesity in the United States. If you don’t think it’s controversial, you should. Even a cursory glance at the many initiatives undertaken through the guidance of First Lady Michelle Obama should note a frightening trend: health education in America is not comprehensive. The Administration is so wrapped up in making healthy food choices and fitness that one could get the impression that a Discipline-Only approach to health education is the best approach to health education. Has no one considered how focusing only on discipline and not all options to address obesity is misguided? Shouldn’t a nation with such a diverse population with a plurality of views expect a federal campaign to at least mention all the options available? Are we going to be forced to live under a system that doesn’t provide a comprehensive approach to “preventative services” when it comes to health?
Obesity is a very serious problem in the United States. Studies show that almost 10% of all health care costs are related to obesity. It is difficult to imagine a more serious threat to the health of our nation than obesity. Since that is the case, should the Federal Government really be so narrow-minded in its approach to educating the young about obesity? That’s exactly what the Administration has chosen to do by embracing the stringent and old-fashioned Let’s Move! campaign. If we want to really take obesity seriously, we should look to a more comprehensive approach**. Such an approach could include, but shouldn’t be limited to:
- Greater availability of diet pills and other diuretics for young people and the poor
- Free shots of insulin in all school vending machines
- More affordable access to Lap-band Surgery and Liposuction
- Sensitivity training about the positive contributions of eating disorders
- Give people the option to execute unwanted obese children***
If we are going to take obesity seriously, we need to take a seriously comprehensive approach. It is close-minded to think that Discipline-Only Health Education is the best public policy. As long as we cling to regressive and unrealistic approaches to health, we have little hope for real change. Health Education is too grave a responsibility to pin our hopes on kids eating better and embracing exercise. Unless we start framing a comprehensive approach that values preventative services like diet pills and weight loss surgery, America will be stuck in our obese tracks.
**It seems the Administration has no problem embracing a comprehensive approach to sex education so a more comprehensive approach to health education seems appropriate. If it’s deemed a fundamental right to have “preventative services” like contraception, abortifacients, and sterilization, why should combating obesity be any different? If it’s unrealistic to think abstinence-only sex education is sufficient, why should health education be based on a discipline-only approach of eating right and exercising?
***This post is of course sarcastic. I just wish the absurdity of the Culture of Death was more readily seen.