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Don’t Wait For Uncle Sam

This week, the Clinton Foundation hosted their second-annual Health Matters conference, an event where politicians, industry leaders, celebrities, and others gather to discuss ways to impact the health of our nation for the better. On paper, it sounds great. However, this event and others like it tend to all be the same: People repeat to each other the Americans-are-getting-fatter statistics, congratulate themselves on tackling the Very Important Problem of obesity, and conclude with the shared agreement that “something must be done.” Hands are shook, babies are kissed, money is pledged. But our obesity problem continues to grow.

It would be wonderful if all these committees, regulations, initiatives, movements, and campaigns really made some headway on the country’s health crisis. The government certainly looks like it’s trying – with universal healthcare, the “Let’s Move” campaign, changing the confusing food pyramid into ChooseMyPlate, etc., Uncle Sam seems to be doing and saying all the right things. But for every supposed step forward, there seem to contradictory steps backwards. Don’t forget that this is the government that declared pizza to be a vegetable, recently passed a Farm Bill that subsidizes Twinkies, and continues to allow companies that market junk food to children to “self-regulate” their industry despite evidence that they are incapable of doing so.

Our current epidemic of poor health is a complicated issue, and hopefully one day, all these committees, regulations, initiatives, movements, and campaigns really will make a difference. But if you’re waiting for someone to “fix” our nation’s health before you can get healthy yourself, I hate to tell you this…but you may be waiting a loooooong time.

Unless you have the desire to get healthy for yourself, no amount of administrative action will make a difference. Even if government subsidies created a market where you could buy a hundred carrots for the price of a Big Mac, it would still be up to you to choose the carrots. Even if Uncle Sam handed you free health care, gave you a tax write off on walking shoes, and built a beautiful park right next to your house, it would still be up to you to utilize all those things for your own good.

I’m not denying that getting healthy in our modern culture (where computers, TVs, video games, and junk food are the prevalent and easy choice) is an uphill battle. But you can view it as a CHALLENGE or you can view it as an EXCUSE. Don’t wait for the government or anyone else to solve your health problems. Choose to get healthy for yourself. No one’s going to do it for you. Keep moving, my friends!

– Alan

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