In the theater of the absurd, a study released today assessing all 435 congressional districts and the District of Columbia, found that President Obama’s home district was the unhealthiest in the country. Michelle Obama’s crusade to get Americans to live healthier lives has failed to reach the 1st Congressional District of Illinois, which ranked dead last.

The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index assessed “healthy behavior,” across the nation. Not surprisingly, the top 10 congressional districts were in California. Right above Obama’s district was Kentucky’s 5th district, represented by Republican Hal Rogers, Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

The Well-Being Index is the product of a partnership created in 2008 between the polling company Gallup and the health-care company Healthways, that developed a system which allows for assessing the well-being of Americans. What was surprising was that the President’s home district has fallen dramatically since he took office. In 2008, Obama’s home district ranked 408, but since Michelle Obama began her campaign Illinois 1st congressional district has fallen from 408th to the bottom of the list.

Is there a message here? Perhaps. Or could it just be that people will do what people will do? There’s nothing in Michelle Obama’s movement that is miracle science to the American public. We know healthy habits and we’re very familiar with unhealthy ones. In 1953 President Eisenhower created the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and mandated school-age children be tested annually; some of us remember it all too well. In the ensuing years, rather than producing a fit public, the exact opposite occurred; kids got fatter and less fit.

Did the War on Drugs get rid of drug use? No. It’s not that we haven’t gotten smarter; we have. It’s the nature of humanity to make personal choices that aren’t always the best for us. If that wasn’t the case no one would smoke. We eat too much. We drink too much. We exercise too little. We even choose to spend our weekends doing dangerous activities. We are a flawed species. We live in the moment, and though some day we may wish we had made better choices, it is part of what makes us human. The best the government can hope for is that we absorb the information they put out and over time choose more wisely. But as long as humans inhabit this planet, we will choose for ourselves. No government entity, doctor, nor even soaring prices will stand in our way. So rather than preaching, or waving your finger at us, just put out the best scientific data and hope for the best.

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