It seems that weight-loss programs are springing up in record numbers. Some of the better-known ones were reviewed just two weeks ago by Marianne Funk, staff writer for the Deseret News. As noted in her article, spring seems to be the time many of us want to lose a few pounds. And we are not alone. Every year, an estimated 50 percent of Americans begin new diets.
But the results we attain are somewhat discouraging. According to Lawrence Stifler, president of Health Management Resources (HMR), a national health company, only 5 percent who begin new diets attain their goal weight, assuming it is reasonable. And even more discouraging is the fact that 90 percent of dieters who manage to lose the weight put it all back on and sometimes even more, within a year or two after they quit dieting. The attention of many Americans is on talk-show host Oprah Winfrey to see if she can keep off the 67 pounds she lost last year. Thus far she has reportedly regained ten.Weight loss (or gain) is often a very sensitive issue for husbands and wives. Husbands seem to be less sensitive of their own weight than they are of their wife's. And the opposite is often true for women. They are more sensitive to their own weight than they are of their husband's loss or gain. Undue pressure from all sides seems to be on wives and women for weight control.
Everywhere you turn there seems to be a new book, a new program, a new pill, a new "miracle cure" to aid in losing weight which has now become a $6 billion business annually in the United States. Almost all possibilities have been exhausted . . . except one. And comedian Steve Allen thinks he has the ultimate answer to weight control: Turn the responsibility for weight control over to the police department. Yes, the police department.
Steve Allen recently observed, with tongue-in-cheek, "We ought to make being overweight illegal. Actually make it against the law to weigh more than a specified amount related to our height."
(Here in Utah perhaps we could even check with our physicians and have our ideal weight posted in large numbers on the side of our vehicles much like the law requires it be done on pick-up trucks.)
The comedian continues: "The police could carry a little scales around in their patrol cars. As you drive by they look at you, give you the red light and pull you over to the side of the road.
" `Pardon me, sir, would you please get out of your car and just step over here on these scales?'
" `Oops, looks like we got ourselves a hot one, Jim. This guy is 14 pounds overweight. Sorry, sir, we'll have to take you in.' "
"I can just hear the evening television newscast," Allen concludes. " `And in the downtown area this evening a man was arrested on suspicion of being overweight and is spending the night in the city jail. He will be given a speedy trial and if convicted, will probably be fined the customary $50 per pound, plus one month in jail for every pound overweight.' "
Who was it who said the first thing you lose when you go on a diet is your sense of humor? Perhaps the Salt Lake City Police Department and all other law enforcement agencies in the state should give Steve Allen's weight-loss program serious thought. It wouldn't hurt.
According to Lawrence Stifler of Health Management Resources, no weight-control program will work unless we make two basic changes in our lifestyle: 1. reduce the amount of fat in our diet and 2. exercise and increase our level of physical activity.
And with a little additional motivation from the local police department, who knows what might be attained?
If you have comments, write to 1230, SFLC, BYU, Provo, UT 84602.