Obesity Tax? Hey Lawmakers: It’s The Food, Stupid!

Greetings friends!

Are you up to date on the latest obesity policies suggested by our lawmakers?  I definitely wasn’t until I read an article in my local paper.  Having had a personal background with childhood obesity, I couldn’t help but be struck by what’s been suggested and form some quick opinions.  I’ve outlined the relevant facts for you along with some candid reactions.

Here’s the article.  What do you think: Illinois groups try to solve child obesity ?


1.  Illinois has the 4th highest rate of childhood obesity in the country (1 in 5 kids!)
2.  1 in 4 adults in Illinois is obese
3.  37% of adults in Illinois is overweight
4.  Obesity costs! (increases health care costs $3.4 billion per year in Illinois alone)


1. Build more parks
2. Make streets safer for bicyclists
3. Increase taxes on sweetened drinks
4. Require kids to walk to school and get 30 minutes of activity per day

ObesityBeater’s COMMENTS:

Item #1 – Build more parks: Really?  This is a great if you’re a park builder.  I must admit, however, that I was an obese kid that was by all accounts considered to be “active.”  I rode my bike and played with my skateboard every day.  I also played intramural sports, shot baskets at the park, and loved recess.  I hate to be the one that “pops the balloon” on the park idea but none of my activity made me fat or helped me get skinny.  Large quantities of unhealthy food made me obese (I was a binge eater).  Smaller quantities of healthy food helped me beat obesity (I learned to stop being a binge eater). Go figure.

Item #2 – Make streets safer for bicyclists: Really?  Please refer back to item #1 and consider how “activity” fits into the equation.  I can’t wait to explain more in other posts but activity should really be the second, third, or maybe even fourth consideration when hatching a plan to beat obesity.  I love safe streets as much as the next person but we should have safer streets anyway.  Nice try – again!

Item #3 – Increase taxes on sugary drinks:  Could this be the first obesity tax – really?  I suppose this is awesome for tax collectors.  The extra tax revenue could potentially offset at least some of the health care costs but will do nothing, nada, zip, zilch, bupkiss in terms of beating or preventing obesity.  Will five, ten, or twenty cents added to the cost of a sugary drink really dissuade any of us?  Will it make the drink makers change?  Should we treat soda like cigarettes here?  Do you really think so?  I don’t.  Nice try!

Item #4 – Require 30 minutes/make kids walk:  Really?  It’s great to be active.  I love it myself but please refer back to item #1 and understand my point.  We need to dig much deeper than this if we’re ever going to beat obesity.  Nice try – again!

How many lawmakers do you think has had experience with obesity?  I mean real experience in transforming their own bodies or listening to anyone that has.  My bet is that not many of them do.  So to me, asking them to legislate obesity is like asking a blind person to fly a plane – you just wouldn’t do it.

I believe that these future policies are well intentioned.  Hell, I realize there are benefits here that I’m ignoring.  Still, the reality is that any policies, plans, desires, actions, or whatever people want to look to as a solution for the obesity epidemic in America should start with and be laser-focused on nutrition.  You know, how/why we look to food along with the quality/quantity of it we eat.

Said another way: it’s the food, Stupid!

Listen to me: mastering nutrition is the key to beating obesity and sustaining a healthy weight.  Don’t fly with your eyes closed by worrying about parks, streets, soda taxes, and making kids walk to school.  It’s a no-brainer to me.

What do you think?

Until next time,


Leave a Reply