One would think that a state that increased its budget last year by 14 percent and has a budget deficit of nearly a half billion dollars would think twice before lecturing others on belt-tightening.
Yet, that's exactly what the Arizona Nutrition and Physical Activity State Plan does. Few would argue with the idea that people ought to eat healthy foods and get plenty of rest and exercise. However, obesity has only recently been identified by government officials as a "public health" issue, requiring government intervention.
As David Boaz, executive vice president of the Washington, D.C. Cato Institute argues, "the meaning of 'public health' has sprawled out lazily over the decades. Once, it referred to the project of securing health benefits that were public: clean water, improved sanitation, and the control of epidemics through treatment, quarantine, and immunization."
And, as Cato's Radley Balko writes, "Instead of manipulating or intervening in the array of food options available to American consumers, our government ought to be working to foster a sense of responsibility in and ownership of our own health and well-being."
It's a wonder that government, particularly a government as voracious in its appetite for new spending as Arizona's, would instruct people on how to keep their weight in check.