The views of Albert Lea are a great deal different from that of members of Congress. According to a CNN report, the town of just 18,000 people embarked on a project to deal with obesity in 2008. They “banned junk food snacking in schools, started walking school buses, organized community-walking groups and identified the most socially influential people to spread healthy habits.” By 2011 the city measured an average weight loss of three pounds, an extended life expectancy of three years and a 40% drop in health care costs.
Today, author Dan Buettner is applying lessons from around the world and Albert Lea to three California cities chosen based on the leading criterion that city government and schools would immediately come on board to implement changes. The bigger factor, Buettner knows, is environment. “We are all part of a system. We need to address the system.”