Charis Fischer
Here's an example of an admirable effort to improve public health without spending a dime of government money: On Jan. 1, Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett challenged the citizens of his city to lose 1 million pounds. As part of this initiative, residents can sign up on the mayor's interactive website, "This City Is Going on a Diet," which has recipes, exercise tips, and a place for people to track their weight loss, among other helpful tools.

This program caught my eye because the mayor was featured on Fitness magazine's "Champions of Health & Fitness 2010" list. As of January, 40,436 residents have lost a collective 519,460 pounds (the mayor himself lost 38 pounds). Restaurants have responded by creating low-cal offerings that they list as "the mayor's special" on menus (no government mandates required). The best part is that the interactive website was entirely funded by contributors from the private sector. No taxes or bans on unhealthy foods were imposed, and no taxpayer money was spent. As I noted in my last post, the low level of government spending on public health in Missouri doesn't necessarily have to result in hampering efforts to encourage our citizens to be healthier. Creative, fully voluntary ideas like this one should be encouraged and copied.

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Charis Fischer