Spending on Health
These two counties in Wisconsin, like Oklahoma City, want their residents to be more healthy and physically fit. Unlike Oklahoma City, they are using public funds to pursue their goals. The money comes in the form of a $2.3 million stimulus grant, and the counties will spend it over the course of two years.
I wonder how the counties will use the grant to change residents’ behavior. They have ample public funding, but many of the behaviors they want to alter fall squarely in the private sector. For example, one of the stated goals is reducing the time people spend watching television. Do the counties plan to purchase a set of TV-B-Gone devices and manually turn off televisions? Presumably not, but how else can they get people to change?
Here are a few more things the counties want to accomplish:
Rauter said further efforts will be directed toward providing nutritional information for school lunches and restaurants, and making healthy choices more affordable in grocery stores. The program will promote community gardens, including implementing a Farm-to-School program, encouraging breast-feeding-friendly work sites and promoting overall good nutrition and physical activity.
Again, I’m curious how the counties will go about this. Changing workers’ attitudes toward breastfeeding is going to be harder than writing a check. And to make healthy groceries more affordable, the counties would have to either start their own grocery stores, or go into private grocery stores and tell them what products to carry and how much to charge.
If Missouri has to choose between the two approaches, I would prefer a campaign like Oklahoma City’s that’s financed by voluntary donations. But my first choice would be no campaign at all.