Obesity in Del Norte County not just health problem for children
A front-page story in the Triplicate of Nov. 12, “Bad news on youthful obesity,” reports that a new study shows that 45 percent of children in Del Norte county are seriously obese.
The report carefully and tactfully says nothing about adult obesity in Del Norte, but I suggest you visit your local supermarket, observe the people around you, and make your own estimate. I believe the state of Mississippi still leads the nation in obesity, but Del Norte seems determined to be hot on its heels.
The growing problem of obesity has been known and reported on for years. While the anti-smoking crusaders among us have been wringing their hands about cigarette butts on the beach, apparently the much more serious and widespread problem of obesity has exploded all around them.
This particular report claims that obesity is second only to smoking as a cause of death, but I have read other reports with much higher estimates which show that complications directly caused by obesity now kill more Americans than smoking, alcohol and guns combined!
Has the statistical correlation between the reduction in smoking and the growth of obesity been studied? As an 80-year-old life-long heavy smoker, I have never had a problem controlling my weight. I now challenge the zealous anti-smoking crusaders among us to examine their own priorities and, to avoid any suspicion of hypocrisy, give us figures on how many of them and their own children are seriously obese.
Reasons why people run for offices they know they can’t win
Why would a Republican bother running in the 2nd Congressional District, regarded as one of the most liberal or “bluest” in the country (or a Democrat in a “red” district, for that matter)?
First you need to understand how easy it is to run. For $1,700 you can file (deadline February 2012), or you can do it for free if you collect 3,000 signatures starting Dec 11 of this year.
That means that your name will be on ballots that go to voters in a district of some 800,000 people. Most folks who bother to run in a district where they have no reasonable expectation of winning do so in order to have a platform to put forth their idealogical perspective (e.g. limited government, less taxes), from a pretty large soap box, including televised debates as well ones in local communities in the district.
That will influence the other candidates and sometimes move them to the right (or to the left).
If you were thinking of running for local office (School board, City Council, Board of Supervisors, etc.), having been on a district-wide stage running for the United States Congress gives you name recognition and builds credibility, especially for someone whose not yet held political office.
Then there are businessmen like insurance or stock brokers who feel the name recognition will help them in their private practice. These are a few reasons one might bother to run for Congress, when not expecting to win.
What are local leaders going to do about childhood obesity?
The Nov. 12 article, “Bad news on youthful obesity,” begs the question, what are local government, community and business leaders going to do about it?
Improved school nutrition and required PE classes are good starts. But what is the family environment and the kitchen food these parents are providing?
Looking at the city’s infrastructure, one sees not much for kids to do. Where is the YMCA/YWCA for indoor winter activities? The skate park? What Scouting outfits lead kids out on the area’s abundant outdoor recreation? Why has Dead Lake not been built into a swimming destination with bike paths?
These focus agencies call for a prioritization for physical activity in land-use development, with all the big field space along the waterfront, kids deserve a mega-park with a 100-yard zip-line, a giant spiralling tube slide with a three-story stairway constructed inside.