Friday, July 9, 2010

Response to “F as in Fat…”

A landslide of articles were released yesterday in response to the report “F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America’s Future 2010,” sponsored by the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The author writes, “Every American must have the chance to lead a healthy lifestyle” calling for “comprehensive reauthorization of the surface transportation law,” and compelling Congress to take action for the proposed Complete Streets Legislation.

The links between obesity and urban planning has gained moment over the years and taken center stage this year. The National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Helping Johnny Walk to School: Sustaining Communities through Smart Policy program conducts research on community development and encourages states to site schools central to the majority of students to minimize travel distances. Their program released the study “Why Johnny Can’t Walk to School,” in 2000. In response to the pandemic, First Lady Michelle Obama organized the “Let’s Move” campaign in 2010. And yesterday, Illinois Governor Quinn signed a bill to keep cyclists safer on the roads, in hopes to encourage young and old alike to get out, ride and share the road.

Federal policy, state bills and academic research make great strides to help curb obesity. However, people have to make the choice each day to exercise or eat healthy. The state bill in Illinois is excellent for those who ride and the others who want to start riding, but what about those who do not? The one’s that are not riding altogether are our greatest concern.