6 Reasons Fit Women Should Vote Next Tuesday
We all obviously care a lot about our bodies, our minds, and our health. We workout, we eat a balanced diet, and we do activities that make us happy. So why wouldn't we also put as much thought and energy into who we vote for, especially when those politicians will be voting on issues that are important to us?
The 2016 Election is only a week away. In seven days we are going to have a new President and new elected officials across all levels of government. We hear a lot about issues like immigration, the national debt and the military, but sometimes it can be difficult to grasp how political issues affect each of us individually. My first job out of college was working for a really cool non-profit where we aimed to help millennials understand how politics and current events affect our generation. Our fit fam doesn't fit into one single generation, but there are so many ways that political leaders can have an impact on our health and wellness.
We’ve had some major changes to our national healthcare system in the last eight years…Obamacare anyone? 16.4 million more people now have health coverage. Insurance companies can’t deny you coverage for pre-existing conditions. Women can’t be charged more than men. Most health plans have to cover preventative care - meaning vaccinations, cancer screening, and mental health services. Sounds like pretty important stuff, right? Well, the next President will have the power to change these laws. He or she will be able to make health care more accessible and affordable. They will determine whether the government or free market regulates the insurance marketplace. Do you care about your health and access to medical assistance when you need it? Vote.
Women still only make on average 80 cents to a man’s dollar. The numbers are even worse if you are a woman of color. The next President, as well as our Members of Congress, will have the opportunity to address gender equality. They can choose to stick to status quo or finally pass laws that reflect where we should be in 2017. The fitness community is filled with strong women. Women who don’t get intimidated by the weight room. Women who believe that health, happiness, and confidence make us beautiful. Is equality important to you? Vote.
3. School Lunches
First Lady Michelle Obama took on health and wellness for America’s youth with her Let’s Move! initiative. One of her top priorities was addressing childhood obesity by taking on school breakfasts and lunches. School meals are under the jurisdiction of the federal government, meaning that the President, and those whom he or she names to their cabinet (like the USDA) will be in charge of the foods that children have access to during the school day. Even if you don’t have children (or don’t plan to have children), healthy eating habits, as well as unhealthy habits, all begin when we’re young. Do you want a future without diseases like diabetes and obesity? Vote.
4. Agricultural Subsidies
Speaking of the USDA, did you know that the government actually pays farmers billions of dollars each year? Looking at a spending report from 2012 – the USDA spent $1.2 BILLION subsidizing the crops used to make America’s favorite junk foods. In fact, out of the $277 billion spent on the food industry since 1995, only $637 million have gone towards fruits and vegetables. That’s peanuts compared to how much money has been spent on the production of high fructose corn syrup. Do you want apples to be more affordable than Twinkies? Vote.
5. Organic & Non-GMO Foods
I’ve said it probably a hundred times; it shouldn’t be complicated to live a healthy life. We should be able to pick up any item at the grocery store and know exactly what the ingredients are and if they are good for us. This past summer, President Obama signed Bill S. 764 into law, which requires all genetically modified foods to have proper labeling on their packaging with either a 1-800 number or QR codes. While this was a major step in creating more transparency within the food industry, many organic advocates argue that the law doesn’t go far enough. Do you want more transparency in the foods that you are using to fuel your body? Vote.
6. The Environment
Everyone loves exercising outdoors. Whether it’s LISS on your lunch break, stand up paddle boarding at the beach, or going for a hike in the mountains, just do a little search on Instagram and you’ll find all kinds of posts about working out outside. Well guess what? The government regulates the environment, too. Do you care about your outdoor gym? Vote.
We’ve seen the ads from the candidates telling us why we should vote. We’ve seen the celebrity endorsements, snaps, and Instagram posts convincing us that our vote matters. But as individuals concerned about our own health and wellness, it's our responsibility to head to the ballots next week and vote not only for ourselves, but for the entire fitness community.