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Trimming The Fat

Oklahoma City takes obesity head on. And it’s government behind the wheel. We’ll take a national look at trimming America’s fat with taxpayer dollars.

People walk on the street, Thursday, July 7, 2011, in Montpelier, Vt. National statistics show that Vermont is dropping from its perch near the top of national rankings of the least obese states. In 1995, 13.4 percent of Vermonters were considered obese. Now the figure is 23.5. (AP)

People walk on the street, Thursday, July 7, 2011, in Montpelier, Vt. National statistics show that Vermont is dropping from its perch near the top of national rankings of the least obese states. In 1995, 13.4 percent of Vermonters were considered obese. Now the figure is 23.5. (AP)

It’s a done deal this week.  Big gulp, super-sized sodas will be banned in New York.  Mayor Bloomberg’s desperate effort to fight obesity.  At McDonald’s, the calorie count for every Big Mac and double cheeseburger is headed up on the menu board.

At least you’ll know.  And across the country, cites and towns,  states and families, individuals wrestling with a national crisis of obesity.  It’s a health menace.  We can’t afford it.  How do we turn it around?

This hour, On Point:  we look at Oklahoma City as a test case, and to what we’ve learned about how to tackle obesity.

-Tom Ashbrook


Mick Cornett, mayor of Oklahoma City.

Michael Bailey, county health worker in Oklahoma City.

Kelly Brownell, professor of epidemiology and Public Health and Director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University. Co-author of: Food Fight: The Inside Story of The Food Industry, America’s Obesity Crisis, and What We Can Do About It.

From Tom’s Reading List

Business Week “Five years ago, Oklahoma City was named one of the fattest cities in America. Today, it’s one of the fittest and looks to stay that way. Not only have residents lost tons of cumulative weight, they also joined forces with business interests to raise taxes to fund $917 million worth of public improvements aimed at advancing community health, fitness, and quality of life.”

New York Times “Local governments across the country are creating dozens of such experiments with money from the Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act. It is part of a broad national effort set in motion by the law to nudge a health care system geared toward responding to illness to one that tries to stop people from getting sick in the first place. To that end, the law created the $10 billion Prevention and Public Health Fund, the largest-ever federal investment in community prevention.”


Here is part of the HBO series “Weight of a Nation.”

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  • Wm_James_from_Missouri

    *If your not full of beans, you should be. They are full of fiber, protein and nutrients. They raise your leptin levels and control blood sugar spikes. ( High blood sugar will make you age quickly, among other things.) Go to the web and type in “ Health benefits of beans” and get to reading !
    *( A lot of these Medicare problems could be solved with simple changes in diet and by ending preconceived notions. People in power know this but they seem to be full of different kinds of beans : ) )
    * Coffee, Coffee, Coffee ! Yes, even decaf ! Go to the Life Extension Foundation website and look up the article on the large study done by the National Institute of Health ( using hundreds of thousands of people ) ! There you will read that the stats say that by drinking 12 cups of coffee per day you can lower your risk of diabetes by 67 %, WOW ! If you drink more than this your diabetes risk goes down even more ! !
    Coffee is full of antioxidants and it taste good, to me, anyway. I drink 20 to 40 cups per day, 365 days per year. I sleep like a baby and haven’t had to see a doctor for anything other than broken fingers and a cut in over 35 years. I have had about 5 meaningless colds in the last 15 years ( no joke ). If you don’t like coffee there are supplements that contain (chlor-genic acid ( Note: my word processor would not let me spell this word as one word, sorry ! ) the “magic” blood sugar and weight control chemical in coffee and green coffee beans. Starbucks makes some fruit drinks that contain it also.

    * Quit going to the drive thru. Forrest Gump might as well have said, “ Fat is as lazy does.”
    * I never ride around and look for the closest place to park. I park far away and walk. Try it, you’ll live.
    * One last thing. I am the kind of person that can sit down and eat ½ gallon of Eddies chocolate ice cream at one sitting. True ! ( I LOVE good ice cream.) Yet I am below my BMI. Why? Because I think differently.
    How about you ?
    *******Men, it’s time to loose the “ man boobs” and women, really, what is with those rolls of stomach fat? Is it time to bring back girdles ? *****************

    • Sandstone3

      While I AGREE with ‘we (desparately) need to deal with the obesity issue’, as someone who has lost (and maintained the loss) 75 lbs, it’s easier said than done.  MUCH easier. If you don’t know the shoes, don’t throw the stones. 
      Now, on to dealing with obesity.  The high cost of medicare is a result of a)the last 6 months of life and b)chronic health issues stemming from obesity.  Having lost the weight, it does bother me to watch what we as a nation have done/are doing to ourselves as a result of heavier weight.  IMHO, it’s all a part of the entitlement era/living beyond our means PLUS a lack of awareness of how much resource we waste here.  Some countries would give body parts I would say to have some of what we unthinkingly dispose of.  But that’s a separate topic.
      First, I think a majority of people need to come out of a denial & entitlement era.  You can’t address a problem that is not acknowledged.
      Also tied with first is, for those who are CRITICALLY aware of their weight, stop JUDGING people.  Don’t give them sideways looks.  Be compassionate.  Sans denial, there are people who are trying their DARNDEST to address weight concerns.  Who are YOU (generic you) to call them out?  There are self esteem issues and more tied into weight.  It’s not an objective, cut and dry issue.  So, be compassionate.  
      I think it’s reallllly easy to ‘tell people what to do’.  Personally, if I haven’t walked in someone else’s shoes, I know not their burdens.  Even the most perfect looking person on the street has SOME burden, some flaw that is not apparent visually.  I am NO ONE to criticize someone else unless I have travelled their path (or a similar one).
      That’s really all I have to say.

    • adks12020

      Is this a joke comment? 20-40 cups of coffee per day? I hope that most of it is decaf; otherwise you have a serious addiction to stimulants.  Considering the cup of coffee size (based on coffee makers) is 6 oz.  That means you drink 120-240 oz of coffee per day.  Even 12 cups of coffee per day is ridiculous. I would have a serious love affair with my toilet if I drank that much coffee…not to mention the fact that it’s a diuretic.  I prefer my 2 cups of dark roast in the morning and maybe a decaf after lunch or dinner.

      There’s this thing called water that’s pretty essential to life.  I lean towards that most of the time…and I’m very fit.

      Don’t look for the magic bullet.  Eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly (at least 3-4 times a week for 30-45 minutes) and drink plenty of water and that’ll do the trick for most people.

      • Wm_James_from_Missouri

        No it’s not a joke. I do eat a balanced diet. Yes, my coffee pot is always fresh and turned on. Sip, sip, sip. A cup of coffee contains plenty of water. I have been getting comments about my coffee use for quite some time but most of the people talking my coffee use down  are always complaining about health issues. I try to make my coffee 2/3 decaf. Never drink old coffee only fresh ! Remember, too many  doctors are just going through the motions.

        • adks12020

          Well, that’s obviously a lifestyle choice you chosen and it’s worked out ok for you.  It seems as though even with 2/3 decaf you must be consuming a lot of caffeine each day.  I bet if you stopped you’d have some serious withdrawl symptoms.  Despite the fact that coffee is made from water, caffeine is a diuretic meaning a lot of the water in the coffee isn’t absorbed properly.  I’m not sayin I think you should stop doing what your doing…just that it seems a little crazy to me.
          I exercise a lot (ride a bike 60-70 miles a week, walk at least 4-5 miles a day with my dog, lift weights 3 times a week).  If I consumed that much coffee I’d be dehydrated all the time…plus I’d have some serious heartburn issues.
          I agree with you that most doctors are just going through the motions. I pretty much only go when I have a serious injury or an infection that needs antibiotics.

  • Shag_Wevera

    Low wage job with lousy bennies, I’ll never be able to retire, I can’t afford to get sick…

    Can’t I at least be fat?! 

    • Wm_James_from_Missouri

      Try turning that fat into muscle. Others may give you the respect you deserve and pay you accordingly. Don’t let “them” beat you down !

  • Markus6

    Great topic (as usual). How far should the government go in helping people stay healthy? And is this more of a local government issue than national? On the one hand, we’re all paying for people’s health, which argues that we (through the government) should have a say in how they maintain it. On the other hand, when does government start using the same arguments to curtail people’s use of motorcycles or mountain climbing.

    There is a slippery slope here, but there also seem to be reasonable steps that should be taken.

  • madnomad554

    Here is my food for thought…sorry for the pun.

    In 1970 adult Americans were consuming around 2100 calories per day. Currently adult Americans are consuming almost 600 more calories per day. So take a look at these numbers…this comes out to be around 4200 more calories per week. In other words, 2 extra days worth of food per week, compared to 1970. In a years time that that 104 more days worth of calories compared to 1970. Per decade that would be over three years worth of extra food at the current daily caloric intake.

    Additionally, according to the Neilson ratings, adults are consuming an average of 28 hours of TV per week. Also adults are using the internet 13 hours per week and that does not include email use or any work related computer use. That’s 41 hours of idle time, combined with the before mentioned 4200 extra calorie per week. Is anyone surprised at this overweight/obesity problem.

    I am 43, 6ft-182lbs…never been overweight. I grew up in rural Tenn and neither parent graduated high school, they both smoked, my mother never worked, we truly were poor, living in a single wide house trailer. I share this because I didn’t want anybody reading this to get the impression that I may have come from a background of financial and or educational privilege.

    I was once sifting through the blue berries at the grocery and someone said too me, “I don’t see how you can afford those”, I replied, “their cheaper than a coronary”. My average lifetime income has been in the upper 20′s per year, but my blood sugar, blood pressure, HDL and LDL and all other vital are spot on and perfect, including a resting heart rate of 52 BPM. Being healthy is a choice, it would be hard to convince me otherwise. At the very least America, turn off the TV and grow a garden. If more Americans put as much time into growing a little food as they do watching TV, things would be better for all of us. On a side note , I don’t have a TV, but I had a hell of a garden this year.     

  • Jasoturner

    Y’know, I wish you’d have Gary Taubes on this show to discuss the myriad theories that exist as to *why* we get fat before we start worrying about prescribing solutions.  I am not fat, but I get really tired of comments that basically assert “Hey, I’m not fat, all it takes is to not eat too much and exercise”.  Clinical trials do not bear this simple assertion out.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Is there anything that Mayor Bloomy doesn’t want to ban?  It’s not about health.  It’s about control.

    • J__o__h__n

      No it isn’t.  People can still buy soda.  Where is the loss to our rights in his trans fat ban?  Banning smoking in public areas is great. 

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

         Tobacco smoke is hard to contain in public, but other people eating fat doesn’t harm me.

        • J__o__h__n

          It doesn’t bother me but we have to pay for it. 

        • Sandstone3

          bingo. We have to pay for it. So it DOES harm you (and me) in the wallet.

          • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

             By that line of reasoning, there are many rights that we have to pay for.  This is heading in a dangerous direction.

          • Sandstone3

            Totally.  We will still pay so help me God.

  • Jeff Weideman

    I am not trying to plug any diets or companies but I started a Weight Watchers online program Feb 1 and am now down 66 lbs and am no longer overweight.

    It’s all about portions and what you eat. WW works best as any. Better than most. 165 is a nice weight to be at. At 53 I only now weight 10lbs more than I did when I was 18. :)

    You can do it. If I can you can.

    • Jeff Weideman

      Here’s a little hint for you btw. If I had one Big Mac meal from McD’s that would pretty much take all my WW points for the day. That should tell you how bad in calories one meal is. Now their salads are another story, but watch the dressing. ;)

  • stillin

    Have public schools offer fruits/vegetables ( locally if possible) and that is your school lunch. 5 of those a day will fill a kid.

  • J__o__h__n

    Stop subsidizing corn.  Give thin/in shape people discounts on health insurance or taxes. 

    • Jasoturner

      Oh man, an episode exploring the disaster known as corn would be awesome. On Point, you listening?

    • Sandstone3

      or giving thin/in shape people discounts on health insurance

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    If your city’s status can go from fat to fit in a short period, it shows the meaninglessness of the scale.

  • stillin

    I tried to edit my school lunch idea but I meant that IS the lunch. It is pick any 5 that’s your lunch.

  • Mouse_2012

    counting calories is a major factor in fighting obesity. Glad Oklahoma City is not using Bans to try and accomplish such goals but the use of infrastructure projects instead.

  • homebuilding

    We are paying a very high price for our entertainment culture.  We increasingly just sit there, don’t we?
    I was happy to note that video game sales have been down, rather substantially, recently.  Maybe more room for baseball, basketball, bicycling?
    My wife (140#) recently went to the doctor with a knee problem. We were both stunned that her weight was NOT recorded as part of the check in with a new orthopedic doc.
    (there is nothing that will reduce your activity level like an orthopedic problem will–and at no time are you more at risk to gain weight)
    So for a doc to NOT note your initial weight and make sure that your don’t gain–and make many orthopedic problems worse–is a major oversight of the medical profession……. 

  • bacterial_sizzle

    I tried to buy peanut butter without added sugar yesterday….900 varieties, every one with added sugar, even the organic ones. Sugar is addictive – studies have shown that cocaine addicted rats prefer sugar to cocaine! No one has the “right” to a 32 ounce Slurpee…It’s no shock that addicts are afraid of the government protecting them, but not the corporations marketing poison to them…

    • Jeff Weideman

       Some stores offer “grind your own” peanut butter. It’s healthier and taste great. BUT peanut butter is not a diet food. It’s loaded with calories via fats.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

       No one has a right to a Slurpee?  Do I have a right to property?  Do I have the right to make choices?

    • adks12020

      I buy peanut butter without added sugar all the time at Trader Joes. It has one ingredient in it….peanuts.

    • sickofthechit

       Track down “Joseph’s” Valencia Peanut Butter. It has one ingredient (All natural roasted valencia peanuts”. that’s it.
      comes in creamy or crunchy. I am an afficianoado and this is hands down the best I have ever had.  Tastes like a pack of “Tom’s” peanuts without the salt.  Their number is 772 589 3113 in Deming NM. company is called Joseph’s Lite Cookies, josephslitecookies.com

  • http://www.facebook.com/greg.ridenour.9 Greg Ridenour

    Tom, I just wonder if you were aware that in the intro of Mayor Cornett you described him as a “big man” with “a lot on his plate.” Whether intended or not, I love a good pun, in this case a double with cheese. 

  • Mouse_2012

    But I absolutly reject the government Banning food/drink products to fight obesity or raise taxes on such products. If the Government want to get obesity down it can reduce the cost of healthy foods not tax the poor 

  • NancyFourCorners


      That Republican mayor REALLY had to squirm to keep from admitting that Federal dollars will partly be behind his city’s health initiatives!

    Is there any Republican anywhere who is not a hypocrite?

    • sickofthechit

       There are a few, but they are Schizophrenic Hypocrites!

    • Matt M

       Is there a Liberal ANYWHERE who doesn’t just LOVE spending Other People’s Money? 

      • Call_Me_Missouri

        Has there been one Republican President in the past 30 years that has not at least doubled the US Debt during their tenure?

  • adks12020

    Thank you for pressing him on the spending issue Tom.  The mayor was obviously trying extremely hard to distance himself from the fact that he’s using Federal money…but that’s exactly what he’s doing, not matter how he tries to spin it.

    “Oh, well, we’re partnering with the state and county board of health and their getting money, but we aren’t getting money directly from the federal government.” What a crock. That kind of semantics drives me nuts.

    • LinRP

      You got that right. These are the same people screaming “Get government off the back of my freedom fries!”

  • Call_Me_Missouri

    That was a great interview with Mick Cornett… pointing out the Hypocrisy of taking money they wish wouldn’t be offered to them in the first place.

    I really wish we could vote to give states as little government as they are asking for.  Think of all the money we could save not funding health services or education in Oklahoma.  Let the states figure out how they can pay for all of it all on their own.

    • Matt M

       Yes – because money solves everything, doesn’t it?  Education costs have more than doubled over the past decade with literally no improvement in outcomes – how do you explain that?  Oh I forgot – it’s all Bush’s fault – never mind.

      • Call_Me_Missouri

        Hey and to the states who feel as you do… we should fund your schools less, don’t you agree?  If the complaint is that the cost has doubled… then why not cut the funds in half and see how your schools do.
        I just would love to be a fly on the wall when you have to tell your teachers that their salaries are going to be cut in half, that there will be no text books, etc.

        I am a big fan of….  YOU FIRST.  

        You want less government… OK… YOU FIRST.  Send the unemployment, social security, food stamps back.  Take your child out of public education.  Buy private health insurance.  There are a lot of steps individuals can take right now to reduce their personal government footprint if you really believe that nonsense.

        • Matt M

           I try to do that each and every year when I vote NO to local school budgets that are ridiculously bloated and have no relation whatsoever to taxpayer economic health.  But you silly liberal, education sycophants believe everything the education unions sell you while they have no problem holding our children hostage by striking when their outrageous demands aren’t met.  But lets’ not forget – it’s ‘all about the children’ – right?  Right??

          And for your information – I don’t receive unemployment, food stamps, heating assistance, free hot lunch, subsidized property taxes, ‘disability’ payments, etc. etc. etc. etc. – I FUND them.  Big difference .  .  .

          • Call_Me_Missouri

            And you promise not to take Social Security and Medicare too, right? 

            You haven’t read my posts, else you would know better than to even vaguely suggest that I am a fan of Teachers Unions.  I believe there is no place for Unions in ALL government service jobs including teaching jobs.  But that is a conversation I have already had with people who believe that Tenure is OK.  They are crazy.

            It was not my point to get into a budget debate about education.  It was to point out the ridiculous verbal dance the guest was doing trying to avoid suggesting that taking funds from Obamacare was OK while at the same time taking money from Obamacare.  And I stick by my initial point that this type of verbal dance is hypocrisy.  If you think taking the money is not the right thing to do… then don’t take the friggin’ money.

          • Matt M

             Of course I will take SS and medicare you clown – I PAID for it.  It’s not a handout when you actually pay for something.  You do get that, don’t you?

            And enough about the verbal dance – I explained his position as clearly as I could but you still don’t get it.

            Let’s cut to the chase – instead of spending your precious time attacking a Republican because that’s what you libs do, just answer this one question: 

            Should the fed. gov. be borrowing money from China that your grand kids won’t ever be able to pay back to stop fat people from eating themselves to death?  Yes or No?

          • Call_Me_Missouri

            How about I answer your question as if I were Ronald Reagan or George Bush Jr…


            Ronald doubled the US Debt so we could still not have a Star Wars program.

            George quadrupled the US Debt so we could be in two unnecessary wars and give Seniors Prescription Drugs at Non-Negotiable Prices.

            So the answer is YES, Republicans think we should borrow money from Whoever will lend it to us (because it’s not all coming from China) to pay for crap that we definitely do not need.

            Don’t blame debt problems on the Democrats.  We balanced the budget and put into place a policy of not enacting unfunded mandates.  That was all REPUBLICANS or as I call them, HYPOCRITES.

      • Sandstone3

        It’s called ‘No Child Left Behind’

        • Matt M

           HAhahaha – you libs are so predictable.  I suppose NCLB required teacher salaries to increase 2-3x more than the private sectors while enrollment declines?  Can you show me that part of the legislation pls.?

          • Sandstone3

            I said NOTHING about teachers salaries. It’s about the bus contracts needed to drive the students out of town to take them to a school that will ‘not leave them behind’. 

          • Matt M

             What are you talking about?  NCLB bus costs are responsible for the insane education inflation?  What planet are you on? 

            What you and the OP don’t recognize is that there are PLENTY of Americans (about 45%) who would LOVE for states to be able to determine how they wish to allocate funds and how much debt (total) we incur.  Unfortunately, because the majority believe otherwise those problems are increasingly addressed at the federal level.  So instead of opening up true health care competition (here in VT we have 3 providers going to 1 provider soon), we have a single health care ‘solution’ that won’t address cost inflation whatsoever, but WILL subsidize all those poor, unfortunate souls who can’t afford HC through no fault of their own.  Because after all, it’s never really our own fault – is it?

          • Sandstone3

            I think you & I agree that TOWNS would actually like to determine how they spend their $$$.  I actually know people who have to sign the bus contracts and write the checks.  HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of DOLLARS to educate these kids  (towns spend the money that state gives them btw).  As it pertains to health care, the reason selling insurance across state lines won’t workis that each state has it’s own ‘bare bones minimum’ requirement for an ins company to SELL insurance in the state.  So, as it stands right now, if a Mass resident were able to purchase health insurance from a less expensive provider (from a state with lower bare bones minimums), the policy would have to MEET Mass requirements (and likely increase/normalize the cost)

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

     When will politicians figure out that Americans refuse to be controlled in every detail of their lives?  There are more sensible ways to go about this than a ban.

  • TribalGuitars

    The Defense Dept has said that obesity is national security crisis, and is spending ever more to train couch potato recruits ever year.  The US is spending billions upon billions of money on health care directly related to obesity, diabetes in particular, and it’s only increasing.  Obesity costs the US in GDP from lost work.  This all fact and science proven again and again.

    The same people that are screaming about their right to choose their diet are the same ones that end up costing all of us, including themselves.

     “You can lead a horse to the salad bar but you can’t make him eat.”

    Scott B

  • Mouse_2012

    Offer I accept, Force I don’t, Many public schools are taking away outside activities in place for more studying for test such as MCAS

  • Matt M

    So funny to hear Tom stutter and stammer when he doesn’t get the answers he wants to fit his ‘narrative’.  How many times does the Mayor have to say that while he thinks the Fed. gov. spends way too much money that he is obligated to spend it wisely if it is allocated to his district??  As always, Tom is furiously trying to justify any and all of The Messiah’s ‘Spend Us Into Poverty’ agenda lol.  So transparent it’s actually hilarious.

    Would he EVER question a leftist in the same manner?  Go ahead libs – find me some examples lol.

    • adks12020

      Are you so oblivious that you don’t realize that the city IS using money from the federal government?  They aren’t putting it directly into the city coffers but they are “partnering” with the state and county boards of health and those agencies ARE using federal money…so they are benefitting directly from federal money.

      • Matt M

         Doesn’t change my point at all, but thanks for playing.  Would his refusal to spend the money affect our total indebtedness?  No, you numb nuts, of course it wouldn’t – it would just hurt his city.  If your Messiah voted to give everyone $1 Million dollars should all the Republican Mayors and Governments refuse it on behalf of their constituents?  That doesn’t make them hypocrites as their refusal doesn’t affect the overall problem.  A hypocrite is a ‘journalist’ like Tom who in a vacuum agrees that we have way too much debt as a country, but then tries to justify each and every cause that the money goes to (except for the evil military or course – that can be cut).  Complete idiocy.

        • sickofthechit

           Did you read your post?

          • Matt M

             Did you?

        • adks12020

          My “messiah”? Who might that be? The guy is being hypocritical by accepting money he purports to object to and you’re being dense by not recognizing that. Here’s the definition of a hypocrite:  1. a person who pretends to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc., that he or she does not actually possess, especially a person whose actions belie stated beliefs. Now you can call me any infantile name you want but it doesn’t change the fact that all the people condemning federal spending also gladly accept the same spending they are condemning on a regular basis.  That, sir, is hypocritical.  If all these people against spending actually refused it it would have an effect on spending but their constituents would also see what happens to them without governmental support and they wouldn’t get re-elected…so they accept it while screaming bloody murder about over spending and they keep their jobs.

          • Matt M

             So you believe that if the OK Mayor refused the funds (which he doesn’t directly receive, but let’s pretend he does), then that money would somehow be returned to tax payers?  Do you actually believe that?

            The money has already been allocated and spent – libs like you have already determined that with your votes.  The issue at hand is how to spend it.

            The mayor’s point (which you apparently can’t see) is that he believes that gov. can play a part in promoting good health.  He would prefer to pay for that gov. intervention through the local budgeting process that he has control over (i.e. he is willing to divert some of his city funds that weren’t raised by lending $ to the Chinese), BUT he would prefer NOT to have that money come from the Federal level because he knows his grand kids will be paying for it for decades to come. 

            It’s really the difference between spending money you have vs. money you don’t.  Getting a gym membership with money you’ve saved from working = good.  Getting a gym membership from money you’ve borrowed with no means to ever pay it back = stupid liberal agenda. 

            See?  It’s really not that hard to understand . . .

  • sickofthechit

    I think Universal Health Care in this country needs to start with “Wellness Care for All” similar to the Oklahoma City program. Bravo OK City.

  • Mouse_2012

    myfitnesspal is a really good website if you want to diet or count calories.

    If you get a chance, check it out. You be amazed how much a chicken salad with dressing has for calories

  • Matt M

    P.S.  Kind of weird that you can’t buy a 20 oz. soda in NYC now but you can still buy cigarettes?  Where does the nanny state stop?  Are we going to stop selling 60 inch TV’s so you lard a$$’s can get off your duff and get some exercise?  Let’s just stop selling Plus size clothing – make all the fatties go around naked until they can be ‘healthy’ enough to be seen?

    • Call_Me_Missouri

      No, what’s wierd is that the penalty for selling a 20 oz soda is bigger than possessing 16 oz of weed in NYC.

    • Mouse_2012

      The new push is to ban sugar or make an 18+ to buy

  • Call_Me_Missouri

    Studies have shown that long commutes cause weight gain so the #1 thing on my list of things to do would be to encourage more working from home, shorter commutes (walking/running/biking distance would be best), and more *real* jobs closer to home rather than in industrial complexes that are far from where people live.  NIMBY is making us fat.

    Shorter commuting times = more time to take care of yourself.

  • Mouse_2012

    To:GC if disque acts up

    Bloomy’s an authoritarian not just on this. The rumor mill is saying Ray Kelly will be taking the reigns after him.


    I totally agree with you on the control thing(most cases I tend not to)

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

       What mystifies me is why voters put that jerk into office three times–despite him having to get the rules changed for the third election.  In many ways, New Yorkers deserve him.

  • ccbard

    In addition to calorie counts, there should be sugar equivalence labels that would express the calories as “teaspoons of sugar”. That way, when McDonalds touts their smoothie as having ONLY 400 calories, they’d also be forced to say, “25 teaspoons of sugar.”  Yes, 1 teaspoon equals 16 calories.

  • Mouse_2012


  • nonchromosomal

    Hey Tom, what’s up with the obnoxious line of questioning about govt. $$???  This guy is a MAYOR, not a governor, and he’s trying to do the right thing for his city.  Your snarky attitude was really offensive (and I’m a democrat, for crying out loud) and makes NPR look like all those ignorant, stereotypical liberals that no-one can stand.  There is no reason to ask a stupid question 5 times.  Please make your question list longer and more interesting before you interview someone.  I would have liked to hear more about what he was doing, and less about you surreptitiously accusing the guy of being some kind of hypocrite.  ugh – i have turned my radio off!

    • Taylor Hutchison

      Tom was right to bring this line of questioning up because the mayor talked about health programs and infrastructure improvements that are vital to his initiative.  Most cities that want to follow the mayors example don’t have the local and state funding for those kinds of things and have to look to the federal government for assistance. 
      Tom was right to continuing the line of questioning when the Mayor seemed partisan, and would barely acknowledge the role of federal dollars. It just seemed silly, not on Tom’s part, but on the mayors. 

      I agree it was uncomfortable.

      • nonchromosomal

        I understand what you are saying. But with only a small window of time for the interview, why focus half of it on such negativity?  Sure, ask the question and explain to the audience why you’re asking.  But if the guy isn’t gonna budge, Tom should let it go and move on to something else! Otherwise it’s just an unproductive interview.
        Also, there are so many republicans that don’t give a rat’s arse about urban planning – or ‘socialism as they’d call it – why treat this guy with such disrespect?  He’s going against the grain, and should be commended at least for that.I for one am tired of all the partisan bickering. Anyhow thanks, Taylor, for being polite in your response.  I’ve seen a lot of rudeness on this thread.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jim.castronovo Jim Castronovo

    The Oklahoma City mayor Mick Cornett is spot-on with tying pedestrian friendy  infrastructure with public health and obesity. Exercise for the population doesn’t work as a concept defined by going to a gym 3 days a week. It’s better defined as daily walks to basic services that traditionally are provided by a neighborhood. And perhaps along their walk people reacquaint themselves with others whose opinions and cultures differ. Perhaps even a civic-mindedness comes about — not a flag-waving top-down civic-mindedness but the kind that sprouts from ‘civility’ toward your neighbor … all this, and weight loss, from a walk in your neighborhood made possible by a pedestrian-friendly set up.

  • Jeff Weideman

    Your current caller is being cynical and he’s wrong it is a societal issue.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/H2OXD7NTOLDJZWZMM2DG6W6LC4 CBSSportscom

    It’s not just a governmental problem. When people don’t take care of themselves and must divert financial resources to address their poor health down the road, that is less money they could use to purchase goods and services and save money for investment. 

    • Matt M


      • Sandstone3

        I doubt it.  We’d still pay for it.  I think no matter what happens, medicaid or some gvt program will pay

  • 05490

    My daughter just entered middle school as a fifth grader. I was surprised when her lunch program account ran dry in the first couple of weeks.

    After contacting the food program director, I was invited to visit the school during lunch, and found my daughter with four junk food snacks on top of a cheese-stick-in-a-blanket “Italian Dunker” entree and a few slices of canned peaches (no salad). She had also bought chips, cookies, and ice cream. She declined the lunch’s lowfat milk and had chosen a tiny bottle of branded water, instead.

    The cafeteria checkout looked like a gas station with cans of Snapple and “juice blends,” and snack bags hanging along the wall. The lunch lady assured me that everything was within USDA 200 calorie/snack guidelines, and that it is all about kids learning to make responsible choices. 

    Great! They want the kids to be compliant students and do everything they are told in school, but when it comes to the school lunch, the kids are somehow supposed to figure out that they should reject all the junk that the school tries to sell them. Of course, if all of the kids got an “A” on the cafeteria test, the school lunch program would collapse.

    It’s no wonder my daughter has put on a fifth grade five pounds, despite playing soccer and running cross-country.

    • sickofthechit

      Quit blaming the schools.  Education starts at home.

    • Matt M

       Maybe as a parent you should teach your kid not to eat like a moron?  Ever thought of that?  Maybe send them to school with a packed, healthy lunch?  We can’t raise your kids – stop expecting us to.  Or stop having kids – that works too.

    • Sandstone3

      what happened to ‘shared responsbility’? (in reply to the posters below, not OP)

    • http://www.CayerComputing.com/ Melissa A. Cayer

      Could you put a per meal maximum on the lunch transaction? When I was in high school, I brought very little money to school so I would not buy too much food with it.
      Credit cards usually have limits, anyway. You the parent are like the credit issuer in this case.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

     Oh, finally a sensible point.  Quit pouring government money into tobacco and corn (except for fuel in the latter case), rather than banning my choices.

    • J__o__h__n

      Ethanol is a scam.  Corn requires a lot of oil-based fertilizer. 

  • Mouse_2012

    Individuals also need to take some Responsibility with there health it’s one thing with someone having a medical condition where government could help it’s another were government forces people and tells them what to eat,drink etc. Once government dictates people’s health and what to eat or drink the next logical steps is government to dictate people’s stress (maybe some red or blue pills?) which can be placed in the example the Guest made.
    Responsibility with there health it’s one thing with someone having a medical condition where government could help it’s another were government forces people and tells them what to eat,drink etc.

    Once government dictates people’s health and what to eat or drink the next logical steps is government to dictate people’s stress (maybe some red or blue pills?) which can be placed in the example the Guest made.

    • Matt M

       ^^^^ This.  Unfortunately there is no such thing as personal responsibility any more.  We are in the age of “Let The Gov’ment Solve All Our Problems”.  Yay!

  • Mouse_2012

    Reduce the cost of healthy foods not increase the cost of unhealthy foods. Doing the latter will/would still negatively effect the poor.

  • sickofthechit

    Governments part in this kind of thing comes under the “Promote the General Welfare” clause of the Constitution, just as Universal Healthcare should.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

       Promote?  Yes.  Force me to make government-approved choices?  No.

  • JennaJennaeight

    Individuals are responsible for food choices.  However, like cigarettes being peddled to poor kids in the schoolyard back in the day in order to create life-long “brand loyalty” – processed food producers have addiction-creation down to a science.  Why not treat cheap, lethal proportions of sugar, fat, and salt not as food, but as products in another category to be taxed and regulated to extinction.

    • Matt M

       Exactly.  We can do even better.  Let’s outlaw all ice cream and make it a felony to sell Birthday Cakes.  We can fix this!

      Remember – it’s NEVER our fault.  It’s ALWAYS some one else’s fault. 


      • JennaJennaeight

        It is someone else’s fault if an individual is told that a product is food when it is in fact a pale imitation of food.

        • Matt M

          Parents have 18 years to teach their children what is healthy and what is not.  Is that not long enough?  It is a fundamental obligation that every parent has along with all the other things we teach our children so that they can be happy and healthy.  Stop trying to legislate outcomes and start teaching personal accountability. 

          Is there a person alive today (in America) who does NOT know that cigarettes are bad for you? And yet, millions continue to smoke. Who’s fault is that again??

          • RobertME

            Yes, but the reason there are millions who KNOW that smoking is bad for you and millions fewer who smoke is because the government passed laws to label cigarrettes as poison, and spent a lot of money on public awareness campaigns to counter to the millions spent by companies to convince people that smoking was sexy and pleasant…  I don’t think that the government should legislate the behavior of individuals, but when you have a massive public health threat like obesity, that is costing tax payers a lot of money to begin with, not to mention driving up the costs of private health care and insurance, it is the responsiblity of the government to intervene, to educate and give individuals oportunities to change their behavior. 

            The debate in the country has been polarized so intensely that is has blinded people from seeing that there is a middle road to be taken.  It certainly should not be the case that the government makes it illegal to participate in say, smoking or drinking a giant soda, but it is plainly very effective for governent to use tax dollars, (as the Republican mayor of Oklahoma has done), to launch an awareness campaign and redesign his city to make it more pedestrian and bicycle friendly…. It does not have to be that one is either a socialist or a libertarian…  This country was built and made great somewhere in between, and the tension between these two ideologies is where our Democracy falls!

          • Matt M

            Great points Robert.  I wonder why Tom Ashbrook couldn’t have made them instead of trying to embarrass his guest?  That’s what got me to come hear and post.  The liberal agenda on NPR is just sickening. 

          • madnomad554

             The trouble is, most of the parents themselves are choosing not to be healthy. 2/3 of adults over weight and 1/3 obese. That is what they are teaching their children.

  • Heidi Walker

    What has not been addressed in this or in the national conversation is that with the rise of processed food we have lost 1-2 generations of people who do not know how to cook fresh foods.  “Cooking” is opening a bag or a box because the vast majority of people don’t know HOW to cook fresh foods.  They are not willing to take the financial and emotional risk of trying to cook new foods and having it come out badly.  We need to educate folks on how to cook as well as how to eat…

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Support?  Yes.  Control?  No.

  • WBC_in_MA

    Why not let insurance companies and Medicare adjust their rates based upon a person’s body mass index?

  • ying13

    Ask celebrity help! It works. Kids will listen to their role models.
    Parents will listen to their kids.My son teaches me how to eat healthy food because he takes advice from his heroes (blasketball players). He eats just like them so that he wants to become healthy & strong & then successful.  

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    See what happens?  We want to achieve something, but then plenty of people come along to complain about tweaking a government handout.  Good luck with that.

  • ying13

    Ask celebrity help! It
    works. Kids will listen to songs. It will be great to create a fun song about healthy food in YouTube- kids will listen to songs (change kids by fun not by force).


  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    One thing that is interesting is how many people feel they have their right to their personal choices, and that personal responsibility is king – but then they expect society to subsidize their bad food choices through farm subsidies, making everyone else’s health insurance more expensive, and getting unrestricted access to the ER.

    • Matt M

      Who thinks that?  Not any libertarian/true conservative that I know. 

  • J__o__h__n

    Isn’t there a stigma to being fat too?  Food stamps shouldn’t be used to buy junk food and soda. 

  • Tishen

    It is so important to read labels! The fat in your chocolate is not even cocoa butter anymore. If you look at your Hershey bar it is no longer my great American chocolate bar it is PGPR a chemical fat created to replace cocoa butter.  Companies change ingredients to increase profits and we pay the price without even realizing it!

  • http://www.facebook.com/alan.gignoux Alan Gignoux

    stop subsidising corn syrup! if we subsidised organic carrots, we also would have an abudance of carrots but I do not think that Cargill and ADM would like this, well, if they were part of the subsidy?

  • fencingmom1

    Here is an interesting article that relates to this discussion.  It is called Money, Politics and Healthcare    http://drhyman.com/blog/2012/09/06/money-politics-and-health-care-a-disease-creation-economy-part-i/?utm_source=WhatCounts+Publicaster+Edition&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=drhyman+newsletter+issue+%2390&utm_content=Get+the+story

  • Elizabeth_BO

    It’s very difficult to eat healthy food in the US and takes a lot of effort and determination on our part to figure out where/how/what to shop for to eat well.  It’s hard to make smart choices when it comes to eating.  According to my observation, even healthfood stores are loaded with
    factory-produced products packaged in recycled paper and supplements of
    all kinds.  There is a great deal of pressure around us that makes us consume and consume.
    The food industry (which essentially produces foods with artificial everything in them) has a great influence on what is placed on the shelves of stores.  Essential foods are packaged into tablets nowadays and people love popping pills as a remedy for ailments.  The other day I saw cinnamon tablets in 1 of the stores.  It’s amazing that you can almost buy everything in the form of a tablet.
    Our approach to eating is the following:
    1. In grocery stores I visit only 2-3 sections regularly: the produce department, the bakery and the dairy sections.  The meat dept needs to be visited once a week.  (It’s a quick visit.)
    2. I limit or avoid packaged food.  If there are many things listed on the label I put the product back on the shelf.  I decided not to spend time on figuring out what the labels mean.
    3.  I cook our food, and only eat out once or twice a week with friends.
    4.  And yes, I use salt and sugar in cooking along with real spices.
    5.  I make the home-cooking/eating experience easy and fun for us and not overly important.  Basically, we eat to live not live to eat. 
    6.  We don’t have soft drinks and any kind of junk food (chips and crackers, stupid spreads) at home.
    7.  I bake or make baby-sandwhiches (small sized) when friends come over. 
    8.  We try not to eat heavy meals after 6 pm.  If we do, we make a point of going for a 15-min walk after eating.
    9.  When we go on a trip, we take home-made food with us so we don’t have to eat at junk-food joints on the road.  It takes some planning and work but it’s well worth it.

    So good luck to all of us in this world of full of fattening eating adventures!

    Elizabeth B.

  • gqlewis

    Unfortunately, many Americans are in denial to this epidemic. I am very fortunate that I only eat to live, and eat very small amounts of food. However, most people do not have that same relationship to food. I think that government has a duty to its citizenry to sometimes protect them from themselves. The cost to our healthcare system by itself due to food related illnesses justifies intervention. Education is only one step of a multifaceted approach we should take to encourage those overweight to eat healthier, lighter meals, and exercise daily. You never have to lose weight you never gained. Some exercise is better than none, and I do realize that not everyone will have an ideal weight for their age, gender, and height – but everyone can maintain a healthy lifestyle. 

  • haudidodi


    Long time
    listener, 1st time commenter. Tried to call in but you’re too

    My take is
    that Government-originated programs are not the way to begin for a myriad of reasons; funding private efforts to
    see what works would be preferable. I’ve had amazing success with a Wellness
    and Lifestyle Program created by Dr. Wayne Altman and Kerri Hawkins (RD, LDN),
    a registered dietitian and personal trainer in his practice at the FamilyPractice Group, Arlington
    MA, which got me started and with which I remain involved.

    By way of
    background, in September of 2010, at the urging of Dr. Altman, my primary care
    physician, I joined a 4-month wellness and nutrition group he and Kerri Hawkins
    were conducting. They had been running them since the fall of 2009. I was
    willing to try but skeptical and why not – nothing I’d tried before over the
    past 50+ years of my adulthood ever worked (or worked for very long). I was becoming
    a “couch-potato” with issues relating to high blood pressure, cholesterol, and
    glycemic index. I was pre-diabetic and my BMI was at the upper range of the
    “obese” segment. The results have been transformative. Over the ensuing 10
    months, I lost 30 lbs. and 8 inches in my waist. Even better, I’ve been able to
    maintain my success. I’m also healthier and in better shape by far than in
    decades, if not ‘ever’. I Nordic-walk at least 20 miles per week at a sustained
    15 min/mile pace. I also do strength/resistance exercises at the gym twice a
    week. For challenges, I walk to fundraise (e.g., 20 miles for Project Bread’s Walk
    for Hunger and the Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk – all 26.2 miles). I sleep
    like a babe and my mood is generally ‘happy’ in the sense of being content. My
    diet emphasizes fruits, veggies and other nutritionally “dense” foods. At my
    annual physical in the spring of 2011, all my test results were normal. Oh and I’ll
    be 71 next month! I guess results like those would allow the experience that
    produced them to qualify as “transformative”.

    By now, I
    suppose I’ve got your attention and you’re probably asking yourself “What did
    you do, how did the program work”, or some variation.  

    Our group met
    Tuesday evenings for 15 sessions over the 4-month period. Each session had a
    theme that allowed for give-and-take on the subject as well as general sharing
    about how we were doing, issues we may be having, etc. The themes were
    generally directed at a behavioral change we were urged to undertake involving:
    exercise and activity (they are not the same!); food selection and nutrition;
    mindfulness; mutual support. Other than being urged to cut out foods with no or
    low nutritional value for the calorie consumed, there was no “diet” as such.
    Instead, it is about changes made gradually but “for life”.


    And there is
    a “secret sauce” that, in my opinion, makes this program work as well as it
    does. That is the emotional connection or bond that appears to develop between
    and among the group members as we travel the path together toward the common
    goal of living a healthy and nutritious lifestyle. We use a private e-list – to
    share our insights, vent our frustrations, ask for help and, yes, “crow” about our
    successes. When one of us experiences a ‘win’, it gives the rest of us hope;
    when one confesses to difficulty achieving a goal, we discover we weren’t the
    only one. Sounds simple but my observation was that it’s the crucial ingredient
    that helps keep each other on track, not just during the 4-month term but even

    With the
    kick-off this month of Groups 12 & 13, about 100 patients will have participated
    in the programs. I encourage you to contact Dr. Altman to get a more in-depth perspective
    on the program. For additional insight into my experience and how my life has changed — I conduct a ‘walking clinic’, I’m shooting a cooking show on LexMedia, Lexington’s local access cable channels plus I blog — I invite you to
    check out my web site, Waisting Away…in
    Nutritionville. at waistingawayinnutritionville.blogspot.com.

    • Regular_Listener

       That is great that you have found something that works for your to improve your health.  But at the risk of sounding elitist, a lot of people who have food-related medical conditions like obesity don’t know what a glycemic index is and are not going to try to find out.  They aren’t about to go to special doctors and trainers – they don’t have the time, money, or inclination.  I can sympathize with the caller who said we should be responsible for ourselves and our own bodies, and we should be, but sometimes Big Daddy has to step in and say, “No more!”  We’ve done it with alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, and various dangerous substances – I think we need to do it with food too.

      • haudidodi

        Just a few comments:

        The Dr. and Dietitian are not “special”; he’s my
        PCP and she’s part of his practice. Anyone can get a referral from their PCP to
        the Wellness/Nutrition Program

        It would be nice if ‘Big Daddy’ could actually
        do what you suggest; the problem – or rather a problem – is that our ‘Big Daddy’
        is dysfunctional at present and, coupled with all the food/pharma  lobbying $$$, I don’t see what you suggest on
        the horizon

        We DO need to take personal  responsibility and to do that, we need to know

        To be successful, IMOP, group support and accountability
        is crucial

  • http://www.facebook.com/kathleen.tullie Kathleen Tullie

    it needs to start with educating the kdis and giving them opportunities to be active.  We ( a group of moms) created a free before school physical activity and nutrition program that is now in over 200 schools.  we’ve seen a big difference in these communities http://www.bokskids.org

  • Mike_Card

    It’s a sad commentary, but education is not the solution.  That wailing refrain has been heard for decades, if not centuries, and the subject problems remain unsolved.  If education worked, the urge to regulate through governmental edict would subside.

  • doug_mO

    The perception is that McDonalds is cheaper because of the $1 menu.  But feeding a family of 5 just dinner can cost $15.  It is much cheaper to go the grocery store.

    A huge part of the issue is the advertising done by both.  McDonalds is expert at getting people in the door.  Grocery stores just to mediocre transactional ads.

  • Michele

    The government regulation is on the wrong side. Stop punishing consumers. Get rid of high fructose corn syrup in the manufacturing of processed foods and drinks , legislate the amount of sugar and hydrogenated oils that can go into processed foods. Sweden did it years ago.
    There are many reports that shows sugar can be addictive, we regulate alcohol (also a sugar) and cigarettes, why not sugar?

  • http://www.CayerComputing.com/ Melissa A. Cayer

    Have a hula hoop near your media output device so it is handy for a bit of exercise. Bring one to work if you have a sedentary job because it would probably be fun for you and the coworkers.

  • superpage

    Mayor Cornett seems to think he can have it both ways.  On one hand as a Republican he can’t say the faintest positive thing about Obamacare.  On the other hand, he is embracing the benefits that his city is directly or indirectly receiving as a result of Obamacare.  Everyone else spend less, unless you spend it on me then my hand is out.  Just like all those Republican governors who vehemently objected to the Stimulus Act yet campaigned on the economic benefits it gave their states.  I think the policy Mayor Cornett is enacting is admirable, however give credit where credit is due.  Clearly being a Republican is more important than telling the truth.  Give me a break Mr. Mayor.

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