Bob Hedlund: “It’s obviously not going to solve itself..."

As a new restaurant owner and assistant minority leader of the Massachusetts Senate, BOB HEDLUND, 49, of Weymouth is well situated to comment on politics and food. After I read his comments in the Boston Globe recently — especially that “the marketplace should determine what’s on restaurant menus, not the First Lady of the United States” — I asked if we could talk. Regular readers will recognize the format: questions and answers of 10 words or less. Please, no counting; it’s a goal, not a rule, and besides, let’s see you do it.

State Sen. Bob HedlundThe name of your restaurant: “Four Square.”

Where is it? “Weymouth Landing, Braintree.”

What kind of a place is it? “Beer and wine, with a very diverse menu.”

What’s your favorite dish, personally? “Beer.”

Have you ever had a weight problem? “No.”

Please rank obesity as a national problem, on a scale of 1-10: “Between a 7 and an 8.”

Do we need a solution for it? “It’s obviously not going to solve itself, but the answer does not lie solely with government.”

Where should we start? “With individuals. I didn’t have nutrition information as a kid, but I got some in my 40s, and I have better habits now. At least I’m empowered with information to make some better decisions.”

But two of every three American adults are overweight or obese. Do they just lack information? “It’s not only information, but practices as well. We’ve got to focus more on exercise, which goes hand in hand with nutrition.”

Do you think we suffer collectively, such as in higher medical costs, as a result of obesity? “Absolutely. Proper diet and nutrition, with exercise, would fall under the heading of prevention, which we talk about but don’t employ.”

Does the marketplace have any role in the obesity problem? “Absolutely.”

Like what? “Marketing stuff that tastes good but is bad for you.”

Do you think Michelle Obama wants to control what’s on menus? “I don’t know if the word is ‘control,’ but she’s interested in influencing it, from what I understand.”

Isn't there a role for public figures to model and urge healthy behavior? “Yes.”

What’s the one thing you wish everyone would get right? “Civics. In addition to being ignorant about nutrition, we’re ignorant about American history and such.”

Author and wellness innovator Michael Prager helps smart companies
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