EACH YEAR millions of dollars are spent in this country encouraging a healthy lifestyle with ad campaigns and programmes that extol the virtues of a balanced life focusing on diet and a decent amount of physical activity.
It would seem that, as humans have developed, we have created ever more labour-saving devices and automated so many processes, and so, too, waistlines have expanded.
Our intake of high-calorie processed foods combined with modern living's low energy use mean many of us - whole communities, it seems - are on the type of growth curve that you don't skite about.
And that comes with a significant cost as health suffers and obesity-related conditions become more prevalent.
So we have to be urged to do what used to come naturally - exercise. The critical aspect to motivate the masses would surely be enjoyment.
If there is one event that exemplifies this, it is the Masters Games. Wanganui is currently hosting this fantastic event. With its range of activities and sports, the games provide an outlet for the serious competitor as well as those who are happy just to participate.
The social aspect is a key factor, which adds to the fun.
Yes, it is true there aren't as many competitors as there have been for past games, but there is serious passion and enjoyment among those able to compete.
That and the organisers' ability to put together a fun-filled 10 days of sport and entertainment mean the event is sure to remain a feature in our events calendar for years to come.
Government officials could take a leaf out of the Masters Games playbook, with its emphasis on participation, fun and camaraderie. ACC used to be the major sponsor, and it isn't unreasonable to suggest the Government might stump up some cash to maintain or expand this successful event.
That would go a long way to converting a lot of couch potatoes into semi-regular participants in sports and could be a cheap and effective use of public money.