Health news just keeps on squirting out of research and government studies at every turn. But there may be some question as to whether anyone buys into government reports on health when it has not issued a report saying that getting into unnecessary wars in Third World countries can also be very unhealthy.

And sometimes I wonder just how helpful is some of the research.

For instance, not long ago our researchers found that dark chocolate is actually good for us. And now the price of dark chocolate has risen significantly. Is there a chocolate lobby?

This is not to imply that dark chocolate cures anything other than a hunger pain, but perhaps it is less bad for us than other chocolates.

I’m not suggesting that there were ulterior motives in the chocolate finding to spike prices. Even if there were, I can’t see it as a subject for a Tom Clancey novel to later become a movie. I can’t see a terrorist blowing up the Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory. Chocolate is just not conducive to things blowing up. Nudity maybe, but not pyrotechnics.

And there probably won’t be any congressional hearings. It would seem so trivial for our esteemed lawmakers to talk about a chocolate conspiracy when a truck load of U.S. attorneys has just been fired, and sub-prime financing in the housing industry is about to drive us into a recession.

And now comes a government report that Americans are not eating their vegetables. So how does a government determine that fewer than a third of Americans eat recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables when it didn’t know that Walter Reed Army hospital, just a few blocks from the U.S. Capitol, was falling apart at the seams?

I did not know until this week that our U.S. government has a goal of getting 75 percent of Americans to eat two servings of fruits and three servings of vegetables each day by 2010. Can you believe that? We have a definite plan for fruits and vegetables but no specific exit plan for Iraq? Maybe we should explore other definitions for fruits and vegetables.

The Centers for Disease Control says we have a lot of work to do to reach this goal.

Questions: Will we be put on double secret probation until there is a spike in broccoli futures? Does this come under the auspices of Homeland Security? I suppose a food fight could be dangerous. In high school I knew a kid who got hit in the eye with a black olive. Someone yelled “incoming!” and he looked up to see what it was. He was a new kid.

Personally, I eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. This probably has a lot to do with being a farm boy and absolutely nothing that was government inspired. It was hay-baling and weed-chopping inspired. I don’t recall even once my mama admonishing me to eat my vegetables.

Now when the U.S. government says it has this “goal,” I’m wondering what is the cost to promote it. The way I look at it, if people didn’t mind their mamas when it came to eating their vegetables, there will be a unison thumbing of the noses at the U.S. government — a government that still has a black eye (non-olive related) for its response to Hurricane Katrina.

Now I understand that if people eat healthier foods, illnesses might be reduced. But in the health industry, that does not indicate that the price per unit of health services delivery will drop, only that there will be fewer patients. Given the chocolate analogy, it could even mean higher health costs per unit.

Oh well, I’m doing my part. The butterbean and crowder peas lobby will appreciate me though I don’t expect a T-shirt or a coffee mug. And I will end this now, lest I get political.

Dwain Walden is editor/publisher of The Moultrie Observer, 985-4545. E-mail:

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