While the Chinese government is investing serious money and resources to improve the fitness of its citizens, the U.S. faces of a continuing epidemic of obesity and related diseases – not caused by economic boom, but by poor education and by the deliberate misinformation and concerted marketing efforts of food and beverage companies.
In the U.S., we don’t have the same totalitarian and highly centralized government as China. Which is great, except it is difficult for issues like these to be addressed, even when they are a matter of national importance. The chief means to address the issue of our national out-of-shapeness is the Presidential Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition. And their latest initiative, “#0to60” is a doozy.
The official #0to60 website states:
WE’RE TAKING YOU
ON A JOURNEY FROM
ZERO TO SIXTY.
It’s our 60th anniversary.
We’re launching an innovative campaign that’s going to educate, inspire, and help you start living healthy by going from 0 to 60 — everyday.
#0to60 is simple.
And more than just another campaign.
We’re going to use inspiration and innovative solutions,
to get people talking,
moving, eating, and living like never before.
And that’s it.
The only other things on the page are a high school yearbook-style roster of Council Members and a list of “Our Partners.” Who are these “partners”? The list includes a number of vague “Center for’s” and “Partnership for’s,” but also National Dairy Council, Nickelodeon, Entertainment Software Association, General Mills, and the National Football League.
And what is the #0to60 campaign? Who the hell knows? There is no information on what “0to60” means (with or without the hashtag), what the intended results is, or what they are asking you to do. The only action possible on the website is to submit your email. Which I did, and I have still received nothing in my inbox at the time of this writing.
The official press release for #0to60 describes the program as “a national public awareness campaign that will inspire Americans to accelerate their journey to leading a healthy, active lifestyle.” After that fluff, the release gets serious about delivering jargon. Some samples:
“The President’s Council, with support from the National Foundation, will use the campaign to partner with organizations with a goal to drive awareness, deepen engagement, and increase support for more physical activity, sports participation, and good nutrition across the country.”
“Shellie Pfohl, executive director of the President’s Council. “We look forward to working with our partners through #0to60 to continue to inspire individuals and families to prioritize health by eating healthy and participating in regular physical activity and sports.”
“#0to60 is a national effort to scale our mission of helping all Americans on their journey to achieving a healthy lifestyle.”
“The #0to60 campaign will engage key partners to illustrate ways to make fitness fun and accessible for all Americans. Partners will activate through digital and social integration, national and grassroots events, and media engagement.”
The website and the press release confirm my concerns: There is nothing about what someone should do, what these “partners” should direct citizens to do, or anything that is in any way actionable or measurable.
You might think I’m kidding, but I’m not. There is absolutely no substance in any of the text associated with the #0to60 campaign. Nothing real, nothing tangible, nothing for anyone to actually do.
This is wasteful, useless, and contemptible. Americans are hurting. Americans are dying. For the U.S. government to offer up an “awareness campaign that will inspire Americans to accelerate their journey” is inconceivable. Especially when the answers are simple. Fitness is a matter of doing. It helps no one to “Inspire to accelerate a journey.”
This entire website would be better and more effective if it just said, “Go outside and take a walk.”