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Should Government Be Involved in Obesity Prevention & Treatment?
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Pamela Peeke, MD, MPH, FACP posted:
Hi everyone. Hey members of this WebMD healthy lifestyle community, I need your advice and input. I have been invited to debate the role of government in the prevention and treatment of obesity in America. There are some that say there is absolutely no role for government, whether it be education, leadership or providing options for citizens and local governments to choose from. They worry about "food policing" and that the government will start to dictate what we can and cannot eat.

Do you agree with this position?

I really need to hear from you as I want to reflect all of your opinions when I hit the stage and discuss this with people like Fox Business TV's John Stossel who is adament that government has no role and should butt out of American's lives on this issue.

So, shoot me your thoughts. I would be so grateful to hear from as many of you as possible!

Gratefully yours,

Dr. Peeke

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Should our government have a role in the prevention and treatment of obesity in America?
  • Yes government has a role
  • No government has no role
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jis4judy responded:
Hi I chose govenment has a role because of the way the Gov gives subsidies to commercial growers and the ones that make proccessed foods get more money than the organic farmers ...maybe that could change ,a more equal playing feild .., as for Gov telling me what to eat thats a NO...
they accually do tell us what to eat allready though by rewarding farmers according to what they grow ...and allowing manufacturers to print labels that can say no trans fats while it has trans fats in it ...just because the serving size is so tiny it would have only 1 gram per serving .. so they can claim something isn;t there that is ... that rule can change if it is there say so ...there probably is more things they allready do that could be changed without accually chooseing for each individual..
Hugs Judy:)
Sw 247 Cw 149ish

remember the gold isn;t in the prize it is in the journey!
life may not be the party we expected but while we are here we may as well dance!
 
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abnersmom responded:
I chose no because I don't believe that government should have a role in how we choose to live our lives -personal freedom as long as we don't harm others. However, having said that, certainly we need the FDA and the nutrition information that the government helps provide.
 
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Pamela Peeke, MD, MPH, FACP replied to jis4judy's response:
Hey there Judy. Happy New Year to ya. Thanks so much for your feedback. I hear you on the food policing point. The other elements are sometime so murky.

Do you see the govt potentially as an entity that watches over other groups to make certain they are honest and are doing what they are obligated to do?

Dr Peeke
 
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Pamela Peeke, MD, MPH, FACP replied to abnersmom's response:
Hi there and Happy New Year to you! Thanks so much for your response. I hear ya loud and clear about personal freedom.

But then, you mention one of our largest entities, the FDA. Actually it's the USDA that does the labels, but no sweat because, after all, it's yet another govt entity.

Do you think that if the govt just provided options and opportunities as well as education and leadership, that would be OK? No food policing.

Dr. Peeke
 
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abnersmom replied to Pamela Peeke, MD, MPH, FACP's response:
Yes, Dr. Peeke, I think that education and information should be governments only role.
 
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jis4judy replied to Pamela Peeke, MD, MPH, FACP's response:
Happy New year Dr Peeke
yes I do believe the role of the FDA is to make sure food is safe and the manufacturers are honest ... keeping to that mission would be very nice ...no real need to police every individual .
just a better informed public would be great ...
clear up some of the grey areas too..
Hugs Judy:)
Sw 247 Cw 149ish

remember the gold isn;t in the prize it is in the journey!
life may not be the party we expected but while we are here we may as well dance!
 
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fenton04 replied to jis4judy's response:
It was with great interest that I watched the North Korean head of state funeral and i noticed that there was not one obese North Korean citizen, I think that the sooner we can have a government more in line with the North Koreans the sooner we will have slimmer healthier and happier American subjects. Yes tI and If you ask North Koreans would agree whole heartedly that the government knows what is best for its subjects.
 
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DavidHueben replied to fenton04's response:
Probably because the majority of North Koreans have too little to eat.

Perhaps you noticed that the new "Dear Leader" is a little fat, pudgy 28 year old. Looks like he is pretty well fed.

DMH
 
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nursingbug responded:
I do think they have a role- but like many have said, not in food policing. It just sets and incorrect tone. Any and all methods of making whole foods cheaper, and junk foods more expensive would be ok with me, but I think the focus needs to be on making healthy foods more accessable.
I would like to see more specific requrements on food packaging- if there are any trans fats at all it should state it plainly, and other nutrition points as well.
I would like to see a lot more education on nutrition available- I don't know if this is done now but if someone gets WIC or food stamps they should be required to complete some sort of nutrtion education. Should be a requirement in high school as well. Insurance should be required to pay for nutrition counciling, especially with diabetes, but also just for overweight. I recently read that Medicare is paying for its insured to go to their doctor for weight loss alone as long as they are actively losing weight. It is a step in the right direction but I don't think most pcps have a lot of knowlege about coaching people toward this. I do this everyday as a nurse, at a call center. To me a good solution (long term though, I know it would be hard to put into practice) would be to have a nurse specially educated for disease management/weight management etc in every md office, and insurace would pay to have people see the nurse for educational purposes. It would be cheaper than a md appt, more effective, as in my experience patients will tell me things they do not tell their doctor, and it would prevent complications from disease. (it would also be my perfect job )
The problem with this whole thing is that you are trying to change a culture. Our culture is very individualistic, and personal freedom driven. We also value time. Many think that it is too hard to cook healthy, flavorful foods in short order so they don't try. Advertising does not help this.
Anyway that is my 2 cents...
SW 320 CW 247 GW 200 Pregnant and maintaining weight, for details see my story!
 
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Haylen_WebMD_Staff responded:
This is a tough one Dr. Peeke!

Obesity leads to health problems that end up costing the taxpayer. So it is in the government's best interest to make sure that healthy diet and exercise information is available and accessible to all.

I don't think "food policing" would work even though I feel there is a need for it when I visit my daughters grade school at lunch time. Why on earth would a parent send a growing child to school with candy, cookies and chips in their lunch box? I'd love for you to address parenting and obesity.

Please let us know when and where we can check out the debate. I can't wait to hear the different views!

Haylen
 
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brunosbud responded:
If...

1. The root cause of obesity is improper diet. (Japan has an obesity rate of 1 in 30 adults; US: 1 in 3 adults)
2. Obesity is directly related to most major causes of hospitalization and death in this country.
3. Obese people are are not achieving successful weight loss outcomes without professional assistance.
4. Americans are adamant in receiving universal health coverage from the American government.

I say...

This problem is way beyond low cal milkshakes, now, and Stossel has no clue...

 
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betaquartz responded:
I chose government has a role for several reasons, many will not make others happy I am sure. First I believe in the letter of the law in "Obama Care" having read all of the document through, and not having it boiled down by one party or the other or even one individual there is nothing not to like about it. However, I do not agree with the administration of it. At the same time the teeth have been taken out of it by the lack of the public option.
That said, proactive preventive care is a cornerstone of the document. This does not mean that you will be required to eat one thing over another, but that your Dr. and you will be involved in making decisions and life style changes that should prevent some conditions from occurring. As a PWD I wish that I had understood lifestyle changes before my problem existed, and no I am not overweight, or have family history. T2 happens.
Education is another step that is important here as the vast pile of knowledge out there about medical treatments and health is so great that it is easier for shysters to slide in on unsuspecting individuals. I believe government should be able to have documentation on what is available, new and coming that is tested.
Much of what is done out there in the medical world today-development of new drugs in particular is done by private industry. It seems that the major gain in value from them is to have "slave population" that needs their drug for long term everyday use. Makes one wonder if a cure were found for a problem if they would actually bring it to market. I believe that there should be some form of government involvement here, but don't know how.
Leadership is a great role also, but how could that happen when our own congress can't lead well enough to even establish a budget.
Government is involved already in so much, that many of us do not even know. At the same time the involvement of government is tainted by the public sector when you look at crops that are subsidized, those that aren't and the people behind the earmarks that are place in bills. I thank the fact that we have Federal agencies watching over our food supply, in everything from testing the quality of the food, watching the labeling, and overall quality of what we eat.
Scare tactics by one party of the other don't phase me, the facts do. No one fact business is in for the money, they will sell the product that will sell no matter what the ingredients so some one has to watch out for the rest of us.
 
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fenton04 replied to DavidHueben's response:
AH yes Kim was well fed. can t argue with that. I am not sure how the socialists are drawing lines with governemnt intervention on food choices and one payor or socialized medicines. After observing Argentina and Australia one payor or socialize medicine models there are not government interventions on food or drink. Want a big mac you betcha you can get those in those countries and a many as you want. Want to belly up to the bar and drink yourself to a stupor well have at it my friend. But you sure can t do that in Cuba and North Korea. So I eye people waringly when they purport government controls on drinking and eating. Well within the realm of totalatarian governments not so much on republics and parlimentary governments. Beware my friend beware.
 
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RoseLynn02 replied to nursingbug's response:
It is a requirement to learn food nutrition in high school & in jr high, hence the mandatory health classes. WIC does have a mandatory food & nutrition class for parents involved in the program, however it is more geared towards infant & child health. But they also have a nutritionist on staff that each parent in the program has access to & is at some point mandated to speak with....well at least I know this information on WIC to be true in Nevada.


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