Bush Budget Proposal

First, don’t get me wrong. I do not intend to make this website “political,” merely informative. If I seem critical of some governmental policy or some stated position of a politician, so be it. I don’t think either of the 2 major political parties in the U.S. have a “lock” on what’s best for the health care of children. I do, however, have a bone or two or three to pick with the Bush administration regarding childhood obesity. I read in the New York Times today (page 21) that President Bush’s new budget proposal includes a 5.4 billion dollar decrease in funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). In addition the budget proposes less than half the funding necessary to maintain coverage for current enrollees. As we will discuss in the near future, there is a higher proportion of children with obesity and diabetes in the very population covered by CHIP than in the general population. But wait. The administration is proposing 17 million dollars for a new program to promote “healthy behavior” among adolescents. Sounds great. But at the same time it is requesting elimination of a 99 million dollar/year program for states to prevent obesity, diabetes, and other chronic disorders in children and adolescents. I’m no mathematical genius but that looks like a net decrease in funding by 83 million dollars?

I must admit that I have no idea if the program currently in place has been effective or what the new proposed program is all about. I think it’s mostly wasted money, regardless. We can’t legislate less obesity in children, particularly when we have systematically cut back or eliminated school physical fitness programs (gym class), offer fast food in the schools, and continue the relentless tv advertisements for big juicy hamburgers, fries, and such. We all (politicians included) just give lip service to serious problems like childhood obesity that require serious action if we are to have any meaningful impact

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