Saturday, January 2, 2010

To resolve, or not to resolve?

How often do you make new year's resolutions? Every year, sometimes, never?

I'm pretty much in the "never" response category, but not because I can't find anything to improve about myself. Au contraire! Resolving to do better about something is almost literally a daily occurrence, with dropping a couple of pounds being rather high on the list.

In the spirit of renewal--not only a new year, but also a new decade--what would our resolutions for 2010 be? I mean on top of any personal goals of self-improvement, such as really getting to a healthy and comfortable weight. What contributions can we make to the world around us?

My first thought is to help find ways to do something positive about our nation's obesity epidemic. While Americans' health has improved since 2000 on some measures, such as lower death rates for cancer and heart disease, on other measures we have fallen back. As the costs for our health care continue to rise, far outpacing inflation, we have gotten heavier, we still smoke too much, and diseases such as diabetes have taken on epidemic proportions here.

Here's an interesting article from the federal agency, Occupational Health and Safety Administration, called "The decade [2000-2009] in health and safety."

As healthy foodies, we should be in the forefront of demanding that our food industry clean up its act and stop contributing to our nation's declining health profile. (See the movie "Food, Inc." on DVD if you want to learn more about our country's industrial food system.) As individuals, we can demand that the restaurants and grocery stores we patronize make healthier food choices easier for individuals to make. Also see the Food, Inc." movie's website for its list of "10 simple things you can do to change our food system."

Congress and our state legislatures need to get into the fray and (for instance) give the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) much broader enforcement powers. The U.S. House has passed the Food Safety Enhancement Act; we should encourage the Senate to move forward and enact this legislation.

These are just a few ideas for the New Year.

If you have others, please share them!

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