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U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin has released a report, the Surgeon General’s Vision for a Healthy and Fit Nation, which recommends ways to improve nutrition and physical activity, include school wellness policies, reduce junk food marketing to children and support walking and biking infrastructure.
Yet the report hasn’t gotten the same media hype as when First Lady Michelle Obama made it her personal goal to fight against childhood obesity (earlier this week, the first lady met with lawmakers on the issue).
But the surgeon general’s report has merit, says a Washington Post blogger:
…[the report] talks about personal responsibility, about communities working together, about grassroots efforts. It places the onus for weight loss squarely on the shoulders of individuals. Here’s an excerpt:
As a society, we have to begin to change our habits one healthy choice at a time. Change starts with the individual choices we as Americans make each day for ourselves and those around us. Balancing good nutrition and physical activity while managing daily stressors is always a challenge, but one that can be achieved. Finding time to shop for and prepare healthy meals after work and between family activities requires planning. Stress and a lack of available healthy and affordable foods are some of the reasons why many people turn to fast food as a regular source for meals. Eating excess calories contributes to obesity, but so does watching too much television and sitting for hours in front of a computer.
These is not what many people want to hear — or expect to hear in these paternalistic days.
But to Benjamin, whose suitability for the job I joined many others in questioning when she was nominated, I say hear! hear! and Attagirl! and all kinds of other supportive stuff. For too many years, people have been encouraged to believe that their weight and that of their children was out of their control, subject to all kinds of insidious forces. Benjamin acknowledges that much of the world’s deck is stacked against those who would maintain a healthy weight — but she doesn’t allow that to stand as an excuse. Step up and join the fight, she urges.