Originally created 02/25/03

Lighthearted but heavy



Which is easier to lose: 20 pounds or $600 million?

Gov. Sonny Perdue is about to find out.

While the state's new chief executive sets out on a mission to trim up to $600 million from the state's budget - or find a few more dollars in revenue to avoid having to do that - he's also trying to shed a few pounds.

Not too long ago, the governor announced he was embarking on a fitness and healthy-eating regimen to lose 20 of his 228 pounds. And he challenged other state workers to join him by losing weight themselves. Some 1,500 have signed up to do so.

There are even low-fat items in the state cafeteria near the Capitol listed as "Sonny's Selections."

Now, after hearing this week that the governor had managed to lose six pounds already, in just a week, we thought it was time for us to weigh in on the governor's challenge: We'd like the governor's challenge to be supersized, to include everyone in Georgia and across the country.

Not everyone needs to lose weight, but everyone can benefit from healthy eating and exercise. That said, the sad truth is that most of the country - not just much, but most - needs to lose weight, many people desperately. The majority of Americans are overweight.

It's a national embarrassment and a crying shame. It has definitely lowered the quality of life for many people. More importantly, our national weight problem is leading to a health-care crisis: As the population ages, health problems associated with obesity are on the increase.

Gov. Perdue's weight-loss challenge, while lighthearted, is more than a lark. It's helping focus attention on one of the country's biggest problems.

And the fact that we have the power to do something about it.

You go, gov.