Originally published July 31 2012
Chavez trumps Obama on teaching people to be healthy
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) Not everything a dictator does is bad, right? That concept might be a hard sell in the United States, of course, where we're not accustomed to bending to the will and whim of a dictator (though clearly, there are some dictator wannabe's lurking within our own political system).
Still, you have to wonder if Hugo Chavez, the current dictatorial leader of Venezuela, isn't ahead of the diet curve when it comes to comparing him to, say, our own president.
In a recent speech to Venezuelans, Chavez urged the people to shun sugary drinks like Pepsi and Coca-Cola and instead drink fruit juice - specifically, a domestically produced brand called Uvita, a grape juice made by Corpozulia.
Granted, Chavez's motives are largely national; his appeal is grounded in increasing consumption of domestically produced goods and reducing imports of foreign-made products. Nevertheless, the cancer survivor has a history of advocating a healthier lifestyle for his people.
Lacking presidential leadership?
Often, during what can only be described as marathon speeches, Chavez can be heard urging his countrymen to eat and drink healthier by choosing better foods and avoiding things that can be harmful in excess, like drugs and alcohol, The Associated Press reported.
And when doing so, of course, Venezuelans should be turning to foods and drinks produced at home - which may be a little difficult, considering the South American nation imports most of what its countrymen consume.
What has President Barack Obama said lately about the nation's collective health? Not much.
Though he was said to have finally quit smoking in 2010, the president doesn't dispense much advice to the nation about its collective health problems, namely, its ever-expanding waistline.
To be fair, though, that could be because his wife, first lady Michelle Obama, has made the nation's fitness a priority.
In fact, prior to the start of the Olympic Games, Mrs. Obama - who escorted Team USA to London and attended the opening ceremonies - said the Games were a perfect venue to promote health and fitness.
"Leading our nation's delegation and traveling to London is truly a dream come true," she said. "Some of my fondest memories when I was young and not so young involved watching the Olympics on TV and cheering on Team USA."
With her "Let's Move" initiative, Mrs. Obama has made combating childhood obesity a priority. The Games present an opportunity to promote that sort of health and fitness, with the nation's - and the world's - classiest athletes as her backdrop.
"I decided I wanted to turn that Olympic spirit and inspiration into action by using these games as a way to get more kids up and moving," she said, declaring July 28 "Let's Move! Olympic Fun Day," to encourage children and communities to cheer on Team USA and to participate in a physical activity.
Still, do we want to become ban-happy?
The difference in the first lady's approach; however, is that it is voluntary. So is Chavez's approach, insofar as one can resist a dictator. He may decide, at some point, to simply ban the sugary drinks, we'll have to see.
But others are acting in his stead. Insert one New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg here.
The former Republican-turned-Independent chief executive of the country's largest city has taken up the "ban this" bandwagon, beginning with - ironically - sugary drinks, proposing in June to ban such drinks larger than 16 ounces in New York City eateries, street carts and stadiums.
Since then, Bloomberg has pressured Obama and presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney into taking a stance on new gun bans, following the recent massacre in Aurora, Colo., and in late July proposed new regulations to curb use of baby formula - in lieu of boosting breast feeding - in city hospitals.
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