It's Imperative We Change Our Culture to One of Health for Our Kids

For Republicans like me, whose political point of view is unapologetically right of center, it's easy to find ways to disagree with the current administration, but it's not helpful to our country's future to automatically and robotically speak against everything the other party does.

Brace yourselves, because I want to ask all Americans to join together in a fight for our nation's children. It's an issue that I believe is not, as I often say, a "horizontal issue" of left and right, but a vertical issue of up and down. It's about the alarming and very dangerous epidemic of obesity in our nation's children.

This week, first lady Michelle Obama is expected to launch a major national initiative to try and combat childhood obesity. She will ask Democrats and Republicans to lock arms instead of lock horns and recognize that the health, economic stability and even security of our nation are tied to our addressing this issue.

I do not believe in a nanny state that dictates what or how much we eat. I do not favor the government becoming the grease police or sugar sheriff to control our behavior. But I do believe that it's imperative that we partner together as parents and citizens to change our culture of chronic disease to a culture of health.

The first lady is taking a lead role to bring evidence-based solutions to addressing a much greater risk to our kids than even the national debt, and you know I feel that the ridiculous spending and borrowing of our government is a threat to our future.

A generation ago, five percent of military age youth couldn't pass the physical requirements; today over 27 percent can't meet the bare minimum of physical requirements due to obesity. At this rate, who will even be able to serve and save our country?

An obese child is a likely candidate for developing type 2 diabetes even as young as a pre-teen. A pre-teen with an adult disease of type 2 diabetes will have vision problems in his 20's, have a heart attack before he's 30, be in full renal failure and on dialysis by age 40, and be dead by age 50. Unless the trends are reversed, a child born today will actually have a lower life expectancy than his or her parents or grandparents—the first time in our nation's history this is true.

The first lady wisely understands this issue can't be resolved in an election cycle; it will take a generation, and it's not about government, but we the people. I'll find plenty of ways to take issue with this administration, but it's wrong and it lacks any creativity or sense of honesty to only find the areas of disagreement and never be able to find common ground.

On the issue of combating the deteriorating health of our kids, I applaud anyone and everyone who is willing to say "enough." And today, I commend the president, and specifically the first lady for seeking to do something about it.

That's my view, I welcome yours. E-mail your comments to:

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