The Government's Exercise Recommendation

Something I have been recently reminded of is that the government issues dietary guidelines. The new guidelines, issued in January, now recommends 60 to 90 minutes of exercise. There are two issues I would like to address. First, couldn't the government spend its time and money somewhere else more valuable than on writing up dietary guidelines for the country? I think society should be able to learn for itself. However, my wife brought up the point that the government has to "fork out" a lot of money, due to government health care plans, to take care nutritional related health problems. Second, in this time demanding world, is 60 to 90 minutes of exercise a day economically beneficial. I am a strong advocate of exercise and have found 15 to 30 minutes of exercise has benefits that outweigh the cost. However, any longer than 30 minutes, I feel I experience diminishing returns.


Dr. Tufte said...

-1 on Sandy's post for poor punctuation.

This is actually a good example of a situation in which the government should be pursuing what might seem to some like a frivolous activity.

Sandy has part of the answer, but not the whole thing. Exercise by an individual does benefit that individual. But clearly that isn't enough to get some people to exercise enough.

However, exercise by others benefits you as well (because they will incur less health care costs that are partially funded out of your tax dollars). So exercise has positive externalities, and goods with positive externalities tend to be underproduced by free markets. Government guidelines can move us in the right direction if people pay enough attention to them.

Nick said...

I agree with Sandy's wife the government should be looking at dietary guidelines, because of the number of individuals that use government health care plans. It is like the saying "give a man a fish and feed him for a day, teach him to fish and feed him for life" if we teach health life styles they will last a lifetime.