It makes you sick to hear that St. Clair and Madison counties are some of the unhealthiest counties in Illinois. Poverty enslaves people in so many ways, and unhealthy living is one of the worst ways. People who live in poverty have a difficult time affording healthy food or medical care. Some people don't have the education to understand the long-term consequences of their unhealthy lifestyle.
It's a problem not only for individuals but our entire area, because a negative reputation makes this a less desirable place to live and conduct business. That means fewer jobs and more unemployed people.
The answer isn't government acting as our nanny. It's overstepping for government to dictate the maximum size of a fountain soda.
We do support prohibiting smoking in public housing, but for the economic benefits to taxpayers -- less damage to carpets and paint, less risk of a fire set by a smoldering cigarette butt and lower health care costs for residents.
As always, education is the real key to improved quality of life, be it learning about nutrition or giving people the tools to get a good job.