Government mandated weight loss

LaCi - posted on 03/26/2010 ( 24 moms have responded )




So this is a pretty old article, but considering every time you turn on a television or open a magazine or newspaper you are pretty much guaranteed to find something about weight loss or the "obesity epidemic," it's still relevant. I wanna know, what do YOU guys think about government mandated weight loss?

Japan measures it's citizens waistlines and if anyone exceeds the limit they are sent to educational seminars and could possibly be fined if they don't lose the weight in the given timeframe. They are continuously sent to be re-educated every time they measure over the limit.

I just saw something about tax breaks for weight loss on the Today Show, although I couldn't find the specific story on their website.

I just want to know, what do YOU think about government being involved in citizens weight loss? If you are in support of some sort of government involvement, what type of involvement would you support? penalties, rewards, something else? Do you think its reasonable for the government to set boundaries related to obesity, and if you do what do you think is reasonable?


LaCi - posted on 03/27/2010




The main goal in japan is to keep their waist measurement within healthy range. Under 35.5 for women I think and a slightly smaller number for men. I don't think 35.5 inches is unreasonable, it's like a size 18 US. Generally, BMI isn't reliable because it doesn't take muscle into consideration, which is why we now have a new category of "skinnyfat" people. Body fat percentage is really much more important and quickly/easily measured with modern equipment.

Jocelyn - posted on 03/26/2010




I think if they were going to try anything along this line, they would have to look at diet and their body fat percentage, as opposed to just BMI. If they were going to try this then (to be fair) they would have to try and get under weight people to gain weight. I think a better thing would be to offer subsidies for gym memberships, make healthy food cheaper and tax the hell out of anything with more than 5 ingredients, offer cash incentives for getting rid of your car and buying a bike, things like that.

Alison - posted on 03/29/2010




I don't think Japan is a model society by any means. This is unethical. Besides, weight management must be self-motivated (just like kicking any addiction), you cannot decide for someone. This is a LAZY approach to trying to improve a very worrisome situation.

Charlene - posted on 03/27/2010




I don't think penalties is the way to go, but I do think incentives is a great idea.

Tax breaks for people who buy a bike, gym membership etc. is a great idea. Also making healthy food cheaper is an even better idea. In a lot of places poverty and obesity go hand in hand because it's a hell of a lot cheaper to get junk/unhealthy food than it is to get fresh fruits and veggies. I don't think taxing junk food is a good idea though, because then those who are already poor will most likely find it even harder to be able to afford food.


View replies by

Keisha - posted on 03/30/2010




I actually love this idea. I think I am the first and only person who agrees with it entirely.

LaCi - posted on 03/30/2010




If I'm not mistaken japan does have universal healthcare, as well as one of the longest life expectancies in the world if not THE longest. Gotta stay on top!

Rosie - posted on 03/29/2010




does japan have universal healthcare? cause if they do, i somewhat support the idea if we were to have universal healthcare in the states. i think taxing the higher fat bad for you food would work better though, and so would incentives for healthier food.

Geralyn - posted on 03/28/2010




A related issue - there are so many children who are overweight.... There is a new tv show Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution targeting healthy eating for families, particulary children. Things have to be put into place to help these children.

Geralyn - posted on 03/28/2010




I totally agree with tax incentives for healthy choices, which would apply to all people. I do not think that there should be tax breaks for weight loss - people needing to lose weight should not pay less in taxes because of weight loss. I totally agree with making healthy food cheaper, but that will never happen.....

I do not think that it should be mandated as in Japan, but I think that the incentives would really help and somehow addressing the issue of fast food being primarily the available food in poor areas. Everyone should have access to healthy foods.

How do we know whether the tax on fast foods, for example, would go directly to health care costs? I always am suspect of that.... If there was a tax, then it would have to go to health care costs of those eating the fast food to be fair....

SarahJane - posted on 03/28/2010




How about making the weight loss surgery or lap band system more readily available for those who could benefit if they fit the criteria. I fit the criteria but I cannot afford the 12,000 dollars for the surgery. If only.. .I have been attempting to lose weight for a year and a half. I think that's part of the reason I was able to get pregnant!

Melissa - posted on 03/28/2010




Well, I think it would suck, but it would definitely drive me to be a healthier person. I am by no means overweight, but I could lose some! It would help to have a force driving me to do so! I need that extra push! But some people like being overweight, to each their own, but I would love the push!

Yvonne - posted on 03/28/2010




To mandate or not to mandate? Are we living in a democratic society or a communistic society?

Carly - posted on 03/27/2010




Since were being compared to Japan I would like to point out it is required that all companies have their employees work out for at least one hour during the work day (at least major corporations). When are we going to see that happen in America? People go to work all day then run errands, if they dont have to commute too.nd by the time they get home are too exhaused to do anything more than veg out. We have become a lazy society and need to just turn off the TV's and computers and go for walks around the block. The government should not place taxes on higher fat foods. Personally I can eat at the fast food places and not put on weight due to my metabolism. Should I get punished because I have to eat alot to not be too skinny? Should my children get punished because they spend most of the day outside playing and need to eat high calorie foods just to keep up with their energy level? (They do eat lots of fruits and veggies at snack time). Most of the people I know that do work out alot eat the high calorie foods. People just need to take control of their own lives and stop relying on the government for everything.

Christy - posted on 03/27/2010




i am totally with the ones of you who talked about putting extra taxes on unhealthy foods. if there was say a 10% sales tax on greasy potato chips and not on grapes, people would probably be more likely to buy the grapes for their kids' lunches. i think it would be a good idea to lower the price of healthy foods too. it seems silly to me to charge so much money for fruit and vegetables that come straight out of the ground. one of the main things that should be taxed is soda. it has no healthy qualities and wouldn't hurt anyone's life to go without it. the thing that bugs me the most is that people can buy junk food and soda on food stamps. i think if the government limited food stamps to only healthy foods the obesity rate would plummet instantly. potato chips and cookies for the poor should not come out of tax payers pockets.

Jenny, i would be more than thrilled if the USA would adopt some of the practices you all have in Canada. i think incentives for being healthy would go a long way, i know for sure they would in my family. i feel like i can't justify the expense of a gym membership but if i knew i would get a tax break from it, it would make a huge difference.

[deleted account]

Well, since we are moving toward an era where we will all be paying for each other's healthcare, I think we have a responsibility to keep costs down for our fellow Americans by trying our best to stay healthy.
Measuring people (waist, BMI, whatever) would cost way too much and not bring much change, but I think taxing unhealthy habits and providing incentives for healthy habits would be more affordable, more accepted, and bring more change in people's habits. That way, people who "cannot" loose weight or maintain a "healthy" weight would not be penalized--only those who purposely do things to keep themselves less healthy.

It won't make everybody healthy, people have to want to be healthy or they won't make those changes. I have to work to keep myself in shape, and I do because I like the way I look and feel when I am slender and healthy. I know a girl who would "just rather eat junk than be skinny" (her words). She doesn't care much about how she looks, and she said if they tax those things she would just keep buying them. She weighs 190lbs, but at least if they tax all of her unhealthy habits, she will have paid more of the taxes that will be paying for the extra healthcare she will need. Because I have healthier habits, I will pay less taxes, but I should also require less healthcare (statistically, I could get cancer, who knows, but for the most part, it will balance out a little better).

Carolee - posted on 03/27/2010




I think the government needs to stay off my butt and out of my home unless or until I specifically invite them! There is NO WAY that they should do anything even similar to this! I have as much right to be fat as the strippers down the road have to be thin (there really ARE strippers down the road from me).

LaCi - posted on 03/27/2010




Louisville has been doing quite a bit to provide a way for people to have a healthier lifestyle. Focusing on parks, bike lanes, pedestrian bridges, bringing farmers markets into poorer neighborhoods, etc. I'm actually quite impressed. Even my suburb has started catering to foot traffic. Our sidewalks were shoddy or non-existant. Now everything's cleaned up, sidewalked lined, and landscaped. I REALLY appreciate that. I guess when louisville ranked #10 on the fattest cities in the US they decided it was time to fix things a bit. ;) I'm all for tax breaks like you guys mentioned. Very nice ideas.

Jenny - posted on 03/27/2010




I also think incentives are the way to although I do think there should be restrictions on marketing as well. I hear some places are looking into banning toys in kid's meals at fast food places, that I support.

We get tax breaks in Canada for gym memberships, enrolling your kids in sports etc. We have tons of parks and walkways where I live. My street is being turned into a pedestrian corridor this year with special roads just for rollerbladers, walkers and bikes. I think it is working and if you look at the people in my city we are overall a pretty healthy looking bunch. There is always room for improvement though.

[deleted account]

I don't think there should be soo much of an emphasis on a certain measurement in inches...I think BMI is WAY more important! But then again, we in America come in all different ethnicities that you could never really go w/one particular waist measurement, could you??? IDK...but I agree w/Meghan if they want to penalize ppl for a measurement over the one they deem healthy then they should go a long way to cut out McDs and other obviously unhealthy foods! And if the argument would be that visitors from the west would be homesick for their disgusting food then ppl shouldn't travel! Isn't part of the point of traveling to experience different cultures...including their cuisine???

Meghan - posted on 03/26/2010




I think measuring people and punishing them is extreme. I do think a healthy weight should be encouraged but beyond that, unless they plan on removing all fast food venues, etc. they shouldn't be allowed to penalize anyone.

Jessica - posted on 03/26/2010




I think thats kind of insane...there are to many factors to every individual body to implement something like that. For example in my family, my nan, mom and sister, all of there thyroids are shot and literally cannot lose the weight. They can maintain it, but if they put some weight on, it's damn near impossible to lose, and according the the BMI chart they are all obese. They are not. Let people be, it is there body. The only time i think something should be said is when there is someone like that ridiculous women with a death wish of 1000 pounds just so she can say she was the only women to reach that...her poor child, I think then someone should step in.

[deleted account]

Let people be...some are fat, some are skinny, some are tall, some are short, etc...just let peole be. It would be a pretty boring place if we were all the same size.

If we start letting the government dictate our dress size, what will they try to dictate next?

[deleted account]

For some reason the link to the article didn't work for me BUT.....

I think SOMETHING needs to be done! I think there should be some type of reward or incentive program to encourage a healthy body image but I don't agree with penalizing someone for not being within a certain guideline!

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms