If you want to find out about how to improve your health, free guidance from the government may cost you more than you expect!
This is a politics and culture blog, not a health and fitness blog. But the posts have talked about diet and health issues more than anyone would expect because the government keeps claiming to be able to help us with its alleged expertise. As Mark Horne points out, the government’s expertise is vastly overrated. Often the government ends up hijacking health science by its ability to throw taxpayer funds around. Scientists learn which pursuits get funding and which pursuits cause funding to end.
And sometimes, taxpayer money just gets thrown at something with no standards on how that money is spent.
Recently, Mark Rippetoe, the author of the book, Starting Strength, wrote a review of a government website claiming to tell the aging how to stay fit. Rippetoe, who is an internationally-recognized barbell trainer found the recommendations ranged from useless to downright dangerous. Telling people that snow shoveling is a way to get healthy exercise, for example, is simply irresponsible. Snow shoveling is how several older citizens die every year. Occasional bouts of extreme activity are what you are suppose to prepare for by exercising. They are not themselves forms of exercise. They are not safe.
Rippetoe himself has helped older people and you can get a taste of his methods by this video of a related trainer that was posted on his YouTube channel.
After writing his scathing review, Rippetoe later added to it, discussing how the government had handled the responsibility of giving authoritative advice to the elderly on how to train.
Important update: Our crack research team has uncovered some important details about the GO4LIFE/NIA website and exercise recommendations. It appears as though $2,647,435 was spent on this project, with a public relations /advertising firm called JBS International, a company that specializes in government contracts. JBSI has “been a behind-the-scenes partner of the National Institute on Aging” since the “early 90s.” They interact across the ACA, and over the past 7 years have received about $430 million in awards from the Federal Government. Their “Go4Life” website is linked across hundreds of .org and .gov pages, all featuring the same happy elderly models smiling at one another as they wiggle their arms and legs in front of out-of-focus pastel backgrounds.
So this company with a great deal of experience in getting government contracts spent over two and a half million dollars.
What kind of expertise did they get with all that money?
Rippetoe and his associates reviewed the listed subject matter experts.
Despite this astonishing investment, the following people who are listed as Experts on Aging-related Issues have the following credentials, and were apparently associated with the project (some info gathered from LinkedIn): (Subject Matter Experts)
- David Burton is the Project Director at JBSI for the NIA’s Go4Life initiative. He has a BA in History from Washington College. He serves primarily as a grant writer, editor, and project manager for JBSI. No mention of any exercise-related education or experience.
- Susan Farrer is the Deputy Project Director/Senior Print and Digital Project Manager on the Go4Life/NIA website for JBSI. She serves as a writer and editor for projects at JBSI. Ms. Farrer has a BS (?) in Journalism and an MS in Health Education from the University of Maryland. No mention of any exercise-related education or experience.
They found similar problems with the listed “aging experts”—no exercise training or experience.
The bottom line here is that you have no idea how much care and thought went into the advice that the government is giving to you “for free”—at a vastly inflated price to taxpayers. In this case, Rippetoe’s article indicates that the bureaucrats gave as much thought to their guidance for the elderly as they did for the privacy and security features in healthcare.gov. They both were money dumped down a hole.