As part of the state of South Carolina’s recently unveiled “war on fat,” a pair of state agencies are collaborating with physicians to issue what are being called “Prescriptions for Parks.”
How does the program work? Easy: Doctors would give overweight or obese patients “prescriptions” – or passes good for free admission to one of the state’s thirty-plus state parks. Once there, the theory goes, these fatties would hike, bike or work out on one of the park’s exercise trails.
The program – featured in this month’s editions of Governing magazine – is being touted as a way to change behavior without forcing it (or spending taxpayer money).
Last time we checked South Carolina’s state parks system was receiving millions of dollars each year to compete against private sector tourism attractions. Of course the private sector tourism economy is also heavily subsidized in South Carolina, too, so taxpayers are getting stuck paying for non-core functions either way.
And that’s before they cough up even more on an admittance fee …
Also, how much does it cost to promote this little “Rx for Parks” program? Because our guess is the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) and the S.C. Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism (SCPRT) – which are collaborating on the program – have spent at least some taxpayer money pimping it out.
Look, we get there is an obesity epidemic in America. It’s out of control – especially in a state as dumb, poor and lazy as South Carolina. But to assume free admission to a state park is going to motivate a bunch of clearly unmotivated people to get off of their ever-expanding posteriors is ridiculous. Even if they go – what are the odds they even get out of the car? Let alone break a sweat?
The bureaucrats’ answer to all that?
“But we’ve got to do something!”
Which of course is the root of all government evil …