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get fat to get helpEvery now and again I come across a story that makes me shake my head and say, ‘really’. This is one of those stories.

It appears that the state of Tennessee would rather you become obese by eating all the ribs, catfish and hushpuppies you can stuff in your pie hole, rather than educating you about eating smart. Tennessee which is the  second fattest state in the nation, will not pay for a dietitian at 100 to 150 dollars an hour for an education session, but will pay for,(on average 1900 dollars) an obese person to get bariatric surgeries once they get big enough to qualify. Really? In defense of the decision, Tenncare medical director Jeanne James says, program recipients do have access to nutritional counseling. Really? Let me see if I have this right. I can’t get help so I can start eating healthier until I become obese and have the 1900 dollar surgery. Obesity-related health issues cost Tennessee almost half -billion dollars annually, that’s billion, as in biscuits and alot of gravy. Did I mention that a third of Tennessee’s population is obese, just a map of this state weighs 41 pounds. In a report from U.S Secretary of Health and Human Resources, new guidelines will be announced this spring that will call for bolder preventative actions in the fight against obesity. The report gave kudos to state medical programs that have made obesity prevention a priority, and oddly enough, Tenncare was not among them. Really. I am not making fun of obese people, rather pointing out the obvious flaw in the Tenncare plan. Look,you fatten up pigs so there is more meat on those delicious southern barbecued ribs, but don’t send the message to the citizens of Tennessee that we can only help you if you’re over a certain weight. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Tennessee, give the people something to read,  like a dietitian’s outline of  smarter eating habits, and not just a sauce-stained menu.

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