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      “The Government Has the Ability to Improve America’s Health Industry, but
                    Will It Take the Necessary Steps to See It Through?”


   One night a few weeks ago while watching the evening news after dinner, I saw another segment pertaining to the rapidly escalating "poor health" condition of MANY Americans. As I sat there reminiscing about what I had watched, a disgust struck me that I had felt numerous occasions in the past few months. Lately it seems impossible to watch the news without hearing negative information about rising health problems.

   In today's world, fast food, hyped diet pills, exercise gimmicks, and countless other reasons are considered to be the reasons for the rise in poor health. In a sense, this assumption is correct. However, to correct a problem, go to the source! Our very own government is the source that I am implying above. "How is this?" you ask.

   Our government is set up on a legislative system that allows it to "monitor/control" basically everything that affects the lives of American citizens. This very system has placed the U.S. as the sole leader among other countries in the international community. In saying that, with all of its many accomplishments, our government continues to fail in regard to accomplishing the critical task of improving America's health!

   At times I can be faithful to studies/polls and, at other times, I find them to be useless/misleading to its audience. Consider this, if 99% of the studies/polls in the past decade provided results indicating that "poor health" was/is on the rise, wouldn't you draw the conclusion that the results were credible? If the results concluded that there is a steady "incline trend" in regard to "poor health", would it not also be easy to assume that the correct steps are not being taken to battle this problem? Simply stating, facts speak only the truth, that's of course why they are called "facts".

   There are many steps that our government needs to take not only to improve, but to win over the battle of "poor health"! As with anything, everything begins with a starting point. Listed below are steps the government should act on promptly to better America.

  1. The government should either force American pharmaceutical companies to lower their cost or to allow the import of pharmaceuticals from other countries.

  2. It should make it mandatory for healthcare providers to cover the cost of ALL surgical procedures that have been given government approval to combat severe obesity when a Medical Doctor concludes that all other options are useless and/or the patient's current condition is life threatening.

  3. Healthcare providers should cover the cost of personal training services if the trainer is certified by a reputable body and has liability insurance.

  4. Tax deductions should be given for health/fitness fees that may prevent some from affording a healthy life. This would include but not limit: gym fees, personal training fees, exercise equipment, resources (books/videos), etc... The current minimum deduction clause ($2500) would be "lifted" from this particular deduction.

  5. The government should fund a program that reaches 100% of all public schools that educate/inform students on the importance of healthy eating. I would like to call this program, "No Nutrient Left Behind"! The area of emphasis would be what proper nutrition is and why proper nutrition is SO IMPORTANT! This approach could easily be applied to individual programs at the middle school/high school levels.

  6. The government MUST finally do away with the 2,000 calorie per day basis for nutritional facts on food. This has become one of the health industry's biggest mistakes to date. So many citizens today have no idea how many calories that they consume, or even need to consume. If a label provides the information that the product contains 50% of the DRA of protein, this would not prove to be true if the particular subject was on a 3,500 calorie/day diet. There are too many individuals who believe they probably consume around 2,000 calories/day since that is the figured stated.

   Now, after reading the recommended policy changes above, do you feel that our government can help? In your own mind could you envision a healthier America within a few years? With the recommended policy changes above, I feel that the current trend in regard to rising "poor health" would not just be halted, but would actually be reversed to establish the first decline in decades. About the only thing that would be on the incline is longevity!


   These statements are solely my own personal beliefs, and do not speak for/represent anyone but myself.


-- Author:  Chad Barnhart, AFTA Fitness Director