Hit & Run

The State Park Diet


New Mexican environmental groups suggest a novel way of fighting child obesity: Bus public school students to the under-visited state parks and generally force them outside. It's not clear what magical fat-fighting properties the state parks have, but it's indisputable that busing students around and training teachers to "integrate their lesson plans with existing outdoor educational opportunities like state parks" costs money. Thus, a sin tax is required: 

An alliance of more than a dozen New Mexico environmental groups will lobby again for legislative approval of a 1 percent sales tax — or "sin tax" — on new televisions and video games to fund outdoor education programs…New Mexico students continue to lag behind their peers in most academic areas, and an increasing number are struggling with obesity, according to state health and education reports.

I'm not even sure this counts as a sin tax, since proponents argue nonsensically that consumers "won't feel it too much, especially if they are educated about where that money goes," and sin taxes are typically sold as a way to discourage sinning. Rather, in this case interest groups are trying to profit from other people's entertainment choices in order to fund a dubious method of slimming down public school kids in a state with some of the highest rates of hunger and food insecurity in the country.

Via the excellent Junk Food Science, where Sandy Szwarc deftly debunks the fight-fat-with-environmental-education plan.