Governor Scott Walker Tried to Trim Safety Nets While Expanding Our Waistlines

Governor Walker's resignation reminded me of this Washington Post headline from July:

Scott Walker wants to drug test food stamp recipients. That shows why he’ll never be president.

Known largely for his anti-union crusade, Governor Walker had yet another misguided objective while in office - drug testing SNAP (food stamp) recipients, a program that provides critical nutrition assistance to roughly 420,000 households in Wisconsin alone.  This "expression of moral condemnation," as the Washington Post notes, is so off base not the least of which is because welfare recipients use drugs at lower rates than the general population.  And beyond being entirely baseless, it's also just plain mean.

So let's look at how the health of Wisconsinites is faring under Walker, the governor since 2010. Lucky for us, the comprehensive State of Obesity report was published yesterday.  This joint report from the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation reminds us each year how much wider we are, how little we move, and just how widespread chronic diseases are throughout the country.

Back to Wisconsin.  Turns out WI is the 14th most obese state - nearly one-third of adults!  The rates are even higher for African Americans as well as the 26-64 age range.  Obesity rates climbed roughly four percent under Walker (in just four years).  

Whatever is going on there certainly isn't helping get our health in check.  A good reminder to think about how these ideals - and approach to assistance programs - can transform the food policy landscape.  If we want to cut spending, as I'm sure he does, he may also want to consider the health care costs as a result of diabetes, hypertension, obesity and any number of related diseases.

For a closer look at the State of Obesity in your state, you can view the report in its entirety here.