In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review July 28, 2010 / 17 Menachem-Av 5770

Our bloated government can't fight obesity

By Marybeth Hicks

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Several years ago, while unloading groceries, my son picked up a head of cauliflower and asked, "What's this?" For the record, no one ever pointed to boxed macaroni and cheese and asked about the contents. I'm embarrassed to admit it was a staple around our house for too long.

Sometimes, lessons in parenting come in subtle but significant moments. "What is cauliflower?" was the moment when I realized I hadn't done enough to incorporate a wide variety of fruits and vegetables into our family's diet.

I'd been under the misguided impression that children simply wouldn't eat brussel sprouts or edamame or hummus. When I started buying those things, sure enough I proved myself wrong. Children will eat anything, especially if they're hungry.

Much attention now is focused on the eating habits of America's children, thanks in large measure to Michelle Obama's campaign to raise awareness of the serious problem of childhood obesity. I applaud her interest in the issue, as she's using her platform to draw attention to a crucial public health problem.

Unfortunately, enthusiasm for Mrs. Obama's obesity agenda is causing some folks to apply the typical, knee-jerk government solutions to a problem that government cannot solve. Ironic, too, since our government is even more bloated than our citizenry.

For example, states and localities are hot for an excise tax on sugary sodas as a means to discourage their consumption, even though the benefits of such a tax are theoretical at best. According to economic research from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, "Taxes on sugar-sweetened soft drinks do not necessarily advance the overall public interest, may be regressive in nature, and hardly ever work as intended."

Come to think of it, that never stopped governments from raising taxes before so I guess it won't stop a punitive soda tax.

Since we know that obesity represents a serious public health issue, already accounting for at least 10 percent of health care spending (and slated to climb to as much as 30 percent), we clearly need to put ourselves on a diet. Get to know our societal head of cauliflower, as it were.

But in a free market economy, that means government needs to get out of the way and rather than attempt to regulate our personal behavior, create incentives for businesses to make money by promoting our healthier lifestyle.

For example, Mrs. Obama has noted the problem of "food deserts" - urban and rural areas without adequate fresh food outlets. Rather than impose new or larger taxes to fund subsidies of "desert grocers," we ought to give tax breaks to grocers that set up shop in these areas. If there's a role for government, it's to keep neighborhoods safe for businesses to conduct commerce.

Creative approaches also include tax benefits for grocers that install demonstration facilities to teach shoppers how to cook fresh foods and for companies that partner with schools to provide healthy fresh food for children's meals.

Ultimately, if there's a way to make money by fighting obesity, corporate America will do it. And not incidentally, this approach helps the economy a whole lot more than soda taxes that governments will misappropriate, to be sure.

Fortunately for America, there's someone who's leading the charge to improve our nation's health. It's British chef Jamie Oliver. Recently the recipient of the TED Award for innovation, Mr. Oliver believes that by rebooting our approach to food, learning and sharing a love of healthy food preparation, and applying some simple and inexpensive principles, we will overcome our national weight problem.

He also believes that as America's waistline goes, so goes the world's.

Check out his TED acceptance speech for the best 20-minutes you'll ever find on the issue of obesity in the USA at http://www.jamieoliver.com/about/jamie-oliver-videos

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JWR contributor Marybeth Hicks, a wife of more than 20 years and mother of four children, lives in the Midwest. She uses her column to share her perspective on issues and experiences that shape families nationwide. To comment, please click here.


© 2009, Marybeth Hicks