Friday, July 16, 2010

Editorial: Self-control and political reform are needed to fight obesity epidemic in rural county

Monday we excerpted the Washington Post story examining the obesity epidemic in Clay County, Kentucky. That story makes it clear that "It takes a village to raise a child," and also that it "takes a village to enable a culture where obesity can flourish," the Lexington Herald-Leader writes in an editorial. We can start examining Clay County's and Kentucky's obesity problem at personal responsibility because, after all, "Calories in/calories out is the bottom line in weight control," the newspaper says. But it argues that the epidemic runs deeper.

The Post made only passing mention of Clay County's economic woes, the Herald-Leader writes, noting that around 38 percent of its residents live below the poverty line and "Obesity is essentially another disease of the poor." The paper also notes the original story glossed over the county's history of political corruption. "It's also not much of a leap to figure that public officials bent on lining their own pockets and doing favors for helpful cronies, aren't totally absorbed in creating healthier communities, collecting taxes to support school exercise programs or better school lunches, or taking the initiative to educate citizens about diet, exercise, calorie counts and the health consequences of personal decisions. But this problem that grows out of so many other problems will damage the lives of the people affected, drain the health care system and put more stress on an already-depressed economy." (Read more)

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