The solution to the American health crisis lies less in reorganizing medical treatment than in improving public health, such as steering kids away from french fries. We should launch a series of initiatives to confront obesity and lack of exercise. Some suggestions: Ban soda, potato chips, and other unhealthy snacks from schools; tax junk foods, particularly high-fructose corn syrup, a major culprit in the fattening of America; promote jogging and biking, and encourage exercise breaks; expand, not cut back, physical-education programs. It's ridiculous that schools have been cutting back on P.E. when students need more of it. A War on Sloth isn't as dramatic as a War on Terrorism. But there is no area of public policy where it would be easier to save lives than in promoting public health.
Nicholas D. Kristof [1/31/06]