This has gotten a lot of press in the last few days, but in case you missed it Medicare is going to cover obesity as a disease. What this means, I think, is that certain procedures, like the gastric bypass, may be covered. Now I’m all for the government trying to do something about the obesity “epidemic”, but this seems a little ridiculous. I guess this is one thing I agree with Republicans on, but I don’t see how obesity is a disease… there’s no “cure” in a medical sense. Just stop eating so damn much and get some exercise. What I would rather see my tax money go to is more government research on diet and social issues. Take carbohydrates, for example. It seems that many people think carbs are as evil as Saddam Hussein and his WMDs. Is this really true? Not surprisingly, research from the Atkin’s and South Beach camp say so. I’d like to see some more independent research on this, and have the government take an official stance on the issue. While I don’t think the gov’t should be diet nannies or diet cops, they should disseminate truthful and helpful information to allow people to make their own choice.
They could also look into more issues like why do people think they have no time to exercise? Can we reduce commuting times and/or work hours to make exercising part of the day? It’s hard to find time to exercise when you have to commute over an hour and work 60 hour weeks. Can we teach kids good exercise and diet habits rather than cut gym and feed them fast food? Commuting is an interesting topic because it is largely a personal choice. No one forces you to work an hour or two away from where you live. But long commutes are at least partially influenced by city planning and suburban sprawl. Since city planning, zoning, and public transportation are government issues, it would be wise to see if future decisions can be made to reduce commuting times.