Friday, April 03, 2009

Fat City

Governor Paterson, borrowing a page out of Mike Bloomberg's playbook, is launching a war on obesity: "Gov. David Paterson just announced he is proposing two bills designed to combat obesity, including one that would ban trans fats...The other bill will enact the Health Schools Act, which would establish nutritional guidelines on cafeteria food, and require schools to develop wellness policies to make students more active."

Well good luck with that! Or, as Liz tells us, Paterson feels that he might approach the mayor's approval rating if he apes Bloomberg's nanny state agenda: "Even though there have been grumbles about Bloomberg's "nanny state" approach to governing (no fat, no salt, no smoking etc.), his poll numbers have continued to remain high (although they've slipped of late). Paterson, on the other hand, recently saw his approval rating hit an historic low. So even an anti-fat crusade is worth a shot, as he doesn't have much to lose."

To us, however, this is simply a poor attempt to change the subject away from the governor's performance rating-poll numbers that make the mayor's look like fat city. And the development of school wellness policies are, well, a bit too nebulous to stimulate any new resurgence of the governor's diminished popularity.

But the approach here isn't half bad, since the effort is intelligently designed to enlist community involvement. As the governor's press statement says: "The Healthy Schools Act also requires schools districts to develop school wellness policies to ensure community involvement in considering ways to create healthier schools and increase opportunities for physical activity throughout the school day. Such policies are already mandatory for participants in federal meal programs but compliance is not universal."

The devil, however, is in the details, and nothing we've seen from Paterson gives us any optimism that this kind of a program will be gotten off the ground in enough time to help prevent his ouster. It will be up to his predecessor-if he or she wants-to take this idea and implement it.