Information Overload (Climate of Health)

Gut check. Not that kind of gut check, we’re talking about our ever expanding waistlines. The health risks linked to obesity aren’t news to any of us.  The trends and implications have been well documented.  

What is a bit newer are the ongoing efforts to do something about the ever-rising obesity numbers. Historically, these efforts have been more about trying to get individuals to alter their behavior, so far with little impact. In recent years, the solutions have shifted to try and address obesity through policy changes that will have broader impact.

The jury is still out on these possible solutions – from increasing the availability of fresh foods in desert food zones to using tax policy to make unhealthy choices a pricier selection.  One interesting proposal took root as an idea about a decade ago – to encourage restaurants to post calorie counts on their menu offerings.  Much of this was initially voluntary, but then moved to using the force of law to compel the change.  One of central tests of this will be delayed for at least a  year as the Federal Food and Drug Administration has agreed that businesses need more time to implement the changes.

Meanwhile, we are already seeing these calorie counts on menus and reader boards at many restaurants or take out joints.  Do they affect your food choices?  Make you think twice before ordering?  Change your behavior in other ways, like persuading you to get more exercise?  Unlocking the puzzle of how social policy can best intersect with our choices as individuals and families likely holds the real secret sauce to making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!

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