Why Canadians Have a Chance Against Obesity

Topics: Obesity and Weight Loss

Health minister offers herself as role model for overweight Canadians. If only American politicians had thought of this.

Can you see Dick Cheney leading on obesity? Of course not! Too busy being hospitalized for coronary artery disease, which is at least associated with if not caused by obesity.

Can you see our Surgeon General leading on obesity? No, because the U.S. didn’t have one in 2002 until July! Richard Carmona, MD, has a budget of just $3 million, and he has to fight bioterrorism with it.

Can you see our Department of Health and Human Services Chair, Tommy Thompson, leading on obesity?

In 1999, almost 108 million adults in the United States were overweight or obese. The disease costs $117 billion, with a B, annually, according to a June 2002 DHHS report.

Fortunately, the U.S. is waking up, though not as fast as the Canadians. Developing healthy eating and fitness programs is on track to cost $16 billion, according to the 2003 fiscal budget.

Politicians in the U.S. don’t lead on obesity because they’re not highly respected role models. And they might not have much clout, even if they tried.

Doctors, though, are another story. What if doctors walked the talk on obesity? And pharmacists? And nurses? And health professionals of every license, and every certificate?

But in the meanwhile, I’m grateful for the Canadians. They’re putting more of their money where their mouths, and wallets are than the U.S. We can learn from them. Ice hockey, anyone?