Thursday, January 19, 2012

Government and Obesity

As the country's obesity rates have risen to their highest rates, some government officials have tried to push their citizens to buck the trend. One city trying that is Hernando, MS. Their mayor, Chip Johnson has made the city more health-friendly. "My job is not to tell people to be healthy, but it is to create an atmosphere and opportunities for good health in Hernando," Johnson said. "If I don't have sidewalks for people to walk on or parks for our children to play in, I haven't done my job."

By creating at atmosphere where healthy habits were prized, he created a new social dynamic. He made moving for fitness a good thing, rather than an oddity. His effort helped a local church and hospital to improve their food options. He didn't mandate these changes, which would have led to a backlash and resentment. Instead, he modeled the good behavior and others chose to follow. His efforts led him to his invitation to Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" kickoff in Washington, DC.

Another mayor pushing his city to become healthier is Cory Booker, mayor of Newark, NJ. He has made his own struggle to stay active and at a healthy weight public. He has challenged people to join him in becoming more active. And because of his fabulous twitter feed, his challenge covers more than just Newark. He is reaching over 1 million people.

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