Big government for big Americans - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

Big government for big Americans

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Posted: Saturday, January 15, 2005 6:50 am | Updated: 9:56 am, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Who’s talking here: "Do you want to look better? Yes. Do you want to feel better? Yes. You lower your calorie intake, you lower your fats, your carbs. You eat more fruits and vegetables, more whole grains and you exercise. That’s as simple as it can be. It is not too hard."

OK, is it your spouse? Your doctor? Your mother? An annoyingly fit and trim friend?

No, it’s Tommy Thompson, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services introducing new federal dietary guidelines in advance of the revision of the food pyramid, the government’s basic guide to a better you.

But do note the choice of words — "as simple as it can be" and "not too hard." Are we being hypersensitive that there’s a snide implication we’re both weak-willed and slow on the uptake?

Privacy advocates used to be worried about government getting into the bedroom. Now it seems that government is determined to get into our refrigerators, if not actually pull up a chair to our dining-room table and make clucking sounds of disapproval as we fork into the pot roast.

We know in our heart of hearts — or stomach of stomachs — that these guidelines are right and absolutely the way to go.

Get 30 minutes of daily exercise; better yet, 60; even better, 90. Cut down on the fat, salt, sugar and alcohol. Eat at least 4 1 /2 cups of fruits and vegetables a day. Eat whole grains. Women between 31 and 50 should aim for 2,000 calories a day; men, 2,400 to 2,600 calories.

The government is right; of course, the government is right. We should eat healthier and exercise more. We do want to look and feel better. But we also don’t want to be reminded of how far we’ve fallen short.

Look at it this way: The Department of Health and Human Services nags because it loves. The austerity details are available at

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