A Heavy Subject

My last two columns have been about heavy subjects: interrogation/torture and new political relations with Cuba. But, speaking of heavy, the government is worried that you’re too heavy. That’s the subject this week. The obesity syndrome: heavy equals unhealthy that equals costs to the government. I’m not refuting the theory. Lots of evidence for it. But, it needs to be discussed in the context of who gets to tell who what to eat.

Actually, they’ve given up on you and me. Too late to change. The focus now is on children. Michelle Obama gets the blame for it because she’s chosen it as a White House First Lady focus. Of course, she’s not to “blame.” It’s just the latest “crisis” to hit the country or world. Weird, isn’t it, that we’re more worried about obesity than starvation? Times have changed. However, I digress.

Back to the children. They’re in the spotlight and in the place where Big Brother can watch and have clout, too. School. This has nothing to do with education unless you subscribe to the theory that hungry children can’t learn. Wait, wait. Hungry children can’t learn? Listen up. The children in many districts are complaining that the new high nutrition, low fat, low salt, low sugar, high veggie diet in school lunches leaves too many hungry. Part of it is that the kids just don’t like the food and won’t eat it; the other is that it isn’t enough for the older kids.

One side of me says: “Tough. Eat what’s on your plate. Be thankful you’re not starving. Back in my time…” The other says: “What’s the point of aggravating kids with lunches they don’t want and maybe aren’t enough and forcing them into a program that isn’t likely to change basic eating habits?” Besides, these aren’t local school district lunches. They’re mandated by the federal government because the districts accepted federal bribes (subsidies). At any rate, the big story is that some districts are opting out of the bribe because it’s costing more in wasted food than they’re getting in bribe money. Which is it: good or bad? I think the whole situation needs some validation. Here’s the way to do it.

First, every person in the school district – superintendent, principal, vice-principal, counselor, teachers and support personal – have to eat the same thing as the children. One exception: They have to eat the food. They can’t discard it (exceptions for allergies, health, etc.). After all, they’re the adults. They will have to show the way. They have to sign off and be subject to a federal audit. I think that will provide instant and reliable (not just griping parents) feedback.

More important however is that all government officials, starting with federally elected officials, must eat the same “approved” food. Start with the Congressional Cafeteria. I would guess that many of our elected officials are technically obese and I doubt that their diets are Michelle-approved. Of course, I’m assuming that the cafeteria menu include the itemized calorie count required now of all larger restaurants.

However, we shouldn’t stop there. Next stop would be the White House where every meal, whether for the First Family or heads of state, would meet the same strict dietary restrictions applied to the school districts. Move on then to a more complex, but equally important, aspect of those who govern us: expense accounts. Here’s an opportunity to establish a broad data base of eating habits and consequent health consequences. These are people really under our control. They either report what they eat and the calorie count or they don’t get reimbursed. Of course, I’m assuming that under the government-controlled health plan their annual health examination would be available for internal review. Linking the expense accounts and the health report shouldn’t be too difficult.

I’m sure you get the picture. Validate the food-for-children/health link by using adults – adults who make the rules instead of young children who have no control over anything (except maybe the parents). If all those adults find the food palatable and the diet appropriate and practical then it can be applied nationwide to all levels including control of the food supply.

In a world obsessed with equality and fairness, it seems only right.

Somethin’ on My Mind is an opinion column written by Bill Northrop. It does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Gabber publishers, staff or advertisers. Contact Bill at B_Northrop@theGabber.com.

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