Major leaders such as New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and corporations such as Walt Disney recently announced important stands that are designed to deal with the growing obesity issue. I’d like to devote this sharepost to those who are taking a stand and also offer one suggestion a that might work in encouraging this sea change.
First of all, here's my list of the movers and shakers in the battle of obesity. They include
- Jarod Fogle, who has served as a role model. Fogle at one point wore pants with 60-inch waistlines and weighed 425 pounds. He didn’t succeed on the weight loss programs, but did embrace Subway sandwich shop’s campaign of 7 sandwiches, each with six grams of fat. Fogle ended up losing 245 pounds and has kept it off, became Subway’s celebrity spokesman and wrote a book entitled, “Jared, the Subway Guy: Winning Through Losing: 13 Lessons for Turning Your Life Around.”
- Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, who also has served as a role model. Gov. Huckabee used to tip the scales at approximately 300 pounds, but was prompted to change his diet in 2003 when diagnosed with type-2 diabetes. “Doctors told him that unless he lost weight, he would be dead within 10 years,” OpposingViews.com reported. The governor worked hard to lose weight through a weight control program through the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in 2003. He has since competed in many marathons and has written a book, “Quit Digging Your Grave with a Knife and Fork” in 2006.
- First Lady Michelle Obama, for her use of the bully pulpit to combat obesity. I know that some people think that the first lady has overreached, but I really appreciate her focus on creating the White House vegetable garden and the Let’s Move campaign. She’s put a focus on getting healthy and has especially encouraged children to become more active and to make nutritious choices. And with some help from a variety of sources, the first lady has made growing a vegetable garden cool again.
- New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, on making a policy decision. I can’t say I totally agree with his latest decision to ban soft drinks larger than 16 ounces. First of all, his policy has a bunch of loopholes since people can go back for refills and because the ban only applies to restaurants, movie theaters and concession stands and doesn’t include grocery and convenience stores. And, yes it may -- and I emphasize the word may – be a step toward a nanny state (although I have to say that while I’m all for self-policing, I haven’t seen major food companies being exactly transparent in the quality of the food they produce unless they have been forced to do so). But I do applaud the mayor’s stand in 2008 that banned trans-fats from New York restaurants and his demand that restaurants post the calorie totals on menus. And at least this elected official is trying to make some policy decisions that can be measured on down the road as far as effectiveness in meeting the goal of fighting obesity.
- Walt Disney Corporation, for its stand against advertising junk food. The granddaddy of all entertainment companies announced that it will ban ads for junk food on its television channels, radio stations and websites. This move will make Disney the first major media corporation to take this kind of step to take away tempting foods from kids so they can make healthier choices.
Again, I appreciate that these people have taken a stand in the fight against obesity.
I also want to offer one other idea. What would happen if companies started giving incentives to children (and even adults) for opting for healthy options on the menu? Take for instance McDonald’s kid’s meals that offer spinoffs tied into the latest movies? What if another version is available that offers a salad and a kite featuring the visage of the action hero of the latest movie? Now, that would a great way for a fast-food restaurant or regular restaurant to encourage customers’ purchases while also supporting healthy eating and increased activity. I wish a company would try it just once….
Published On: June 06, 2012