I have no idea.
The reason I started digging into this is that Vermont Governor Jim Douglas is going to attack obesity, according to an article in the Burlington Free Press. I don’t know if they have a paid press. I couldn’t resist.
I hate relying on the media for quotes; I like going to the source. In this case I went to the governor’s press site and found nothing. I then went to the Vermont Department of Health site and found nothing. I looked back on the governor’s initiative page and found nothing. I’m left with the news article.
The news article explains that the governor’s obesity prevention plan, but never quotes him. By the end of the article, though, the program is described as an “obesity proposal.” Poor choice of words, but funny.
It does quote a few others and provides some information on the plans. They are as follows:
- $300,000 in grants for local communities, but doesn’t explain the criteria for the grants.
- Dedication of staff in local health offices for obesity prevention. These can be full or part time and won’t be part of staff cuts the governor ordered last year.
I decided to dig into the current obesity rates for Vermont, but there has been nothing released for 2007. The best I could find is a study by the Vermont Department of Health in 2006 (pdf). Even if you don’t care about the obesity rates, you have to see the photo on the front page. First, Vermont is gorgeous. Second, do you think the man in the photo is obese?
In the report you’ll find the normal babble about obesity rates that aren’t support by the CDC figures. For instance:
Obesity is rapidly becoming a national public health crisis.
They follow it up with this awesome tidbit:
The problem of obesity cannot be solved at the individual level. The issue is society-wide and will require action at multiple levels–in schools, in communities, in health care, in workplaces, in government–as well as by individuals.
Solving obesity at the individual level is easy when government expect personal responsibility. When they expect citizens to abdicate that personal responsibility then you have a problem.
This is where I get lost. They have some great looking graphics in the presentation. Since it’s a governmental entity, I’m assuming they are public domain, so here is an example. They are striking:
I get lost because I can’t find any statistics past 2003. None. It seems the last wholesale statistical survey done concerning obesity in Vermont was in 2003. Maybe someone can clue me in as to how you’re supposed to create programs to combat obesity on figures that are four years old.
Here are the obesity statistics for Vermont in 2003:
- Adults 20%
- Children unknown. They list children as overweight, and that comes in at 11%.
Does Vermont have an obesity problem? It doesn’t look like it, but we’re talking four year old statistics.