At the Sioux Falls Information meeting on Monday July 11th the health department releases a report on the health of the community. Scott L. Ehrisman at South DaCola called the report scathing Greg Belfrage at KELO-AM talked about the report Tuesday morning on his radio show.
The part that everyone seemed to be focus on was the section of obesity. The good news is everyone is in agreement what should be done. Eat healthier foods, and more exercise, less junk food, less TV/computer time.
1. Increase availability of healthier food and beverage choices in public service venues.
2. Improve geographic availability of supermarkets in undeserved areas.
3. Improve availability of mechanisms for purchasing foods from farms.
4. Increase opportunities for extracurricular physical activity.
5. Improve access to outdoor recreational facilities.
6. Participate in community coalitions or partnerships to address obesity.
All noble ideas, for sure, however they alone will not fix the problem and they cost money we don’t have. We need to address the under laying problem. Greg put his finger on it in his radio program, the root of the problem is our lifestyle. One of the examples Greg used was when someone wants a glass of milk, they go to the refrigerator, open the door, and there is the milk, they did not have to go round up the cow, and milk the cow twice a day. (The thought of people in Sioux Falls having a miniature cow or a half dozen chickens in their backyard is somewhat amusing. ) If we want to tell someone something, we don’t go find them and talk to them, we send them a text message, even if they are sitting right next to us.
We shouldn’t be looking at just the kids lifestyle, we also should look at the parents. Many homes have only one parent who works, and in homes with two parents, both parents work 50, 70, and some as much as 90 hours a week, just to make ends meet. When they get home, they are not far from their job via computer, cell phone, or PDA. A good percentage of those jobs in Sioux Falls are call center jobs where workers really don’t move around much. They sit in their cubicle, stare at a computer screen. When they do get home they are mentally exhausted. Our lifestyle somewhat reminds of life on-board the Axiom in the movie Wall ? E. If we keep going they way we are, we might not be to far from that.
There is no silver bullet, no magic, no secret formula, no super-slim trainer going to show up at your door.
The cure is fairly simple, we need to get up, get out, and start doing things for ourselves. We also should start eating better. Grow a garden, and eat what you have grown. You’ll save money, get a work-out and eat much better food. That doesn’t mean we put the computer on the shelf to collect dust or parking the car. It means using these things in moderation.
What role should the government play in this?
Do we tax or ban food that is not good for us?
Do we demand that employers have a exercise program for all employees
Do we put cameras in lunch rooms and see what people are eating?
Do we curb advertising of certain foods to our children?
Do we ban sack lunches at school?
Should the state take custody of children who are obese from their parents?
I believe the Government has done its job. It has provided us with the information we need both in the report and through the extension service. Anything more will cost money we don’t have, or become more intrusive.
It is now up to us. We must take control and responsibility of our own lives.