WASHINGTON -- The nation's governors closed their conference here Monday following a call from Dr. Mehmet Oz for them to have more sex.
Oz, speaking to the National Governors Association's winter meeting, laid out a series of steps that governors could implement in their states to increase lifespans and reduce health costs. The medical talk show host said it is important that state government take the lead in promoting healthy lifestyles, including calling for states to pass laws to allow companies to not hire smokers and to promote nutrition measures, including bans on soda and transfat.
"Not hiring smokers in your state will reduce your health care budget by 15 percent," Oz said.
Oz said that over 20 states have implemented laws that would allow companies not to hire smokers as a way to promote healthier lifestyles. Showing the governors pictures of a healthy lung and a smoker's lung, he said that smokers need more incentives to stop smoking. He also said that eliminating smoking in the workplace would prevent those who smoke from gaining additional access to top executives who smoke and consequently more potential for promotions and workplace success.
Oz also encouraged governors to lead by example by modeling a number of healthy behaviors. He encouraged them to eat nuts as a snacks, which he said reduce hunger and how much they would eat at meals. Noting that increased sexual activity leads to longer lifespans, Oz called on all governors to start having sex twice a week. No governors responded to Oz's suggestion about their sex lives. (Oz spoke to governors' spouses on Sunday about healthy lifestyles.)
Oz spent most of his speech laying out a campaign against obesity, which has been a leading topic for governors during this weekend's NGA conference. He said states need to do more to promote healthier lifestyles, with an emphasis on exercise and a reduction of the intake of fructose and fatty foods. During the speech, Oz told governors that fructose can cause a chemical reaction in the brain that causes people to forget about being full and thus eat up to 125 calories more than needed.
Oz praised several public health initiatives in the states, including New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's bans on smoking in public, large sugary drinks and transfats, and the requirements for restaurants to post the calorie count of menu items. Oz said that businesses in New York have not been hurt by Bloomberg's policies and that they are steps that governors should replicate.
"If we are talking about the impact of large sodas, it is worth the risk politically," he said.
Among the other policies Oz praised was the creation of a Health Corps, which has been training recent college graduates to teach health seminars in schools. He also praised New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) for working with him through the New Jersey Motor Vehicles Commission to create campaigns to promote organ donation. Oz told governors that motor vehicles agencies are the perfect spot to launch organ donation campaigns since the agencies have access to most residents.
Oz also briefly touched on how marijuana smoking leads to a desire to eat more. He asked if any governors are currently smoking marijuana and no hands went up.
Oz stressed to governors that the healthy living debate rests with them, not Congress.
"We are not going to win the battle for health in Washington," he said.