In September New York Magazine featured a story on health commissioner Thomas Farley’s initiative to get people to take the stairs. New York magazine states that two additional minutes of stair walking per day is enough to “burn more than enough calories to eliminate the average adult’s annual weight gain.” The article states Farley’s plans on potentially giving tax credits to buildings that are stair friendly. On Friday last week at a press conference for furthering the health of New Yorkers, with input from Governor Patterson, Farley released a statement on implementing a tax on people who are overweight who do not regularly take the stairs.
Governor Patterson started the trend with his initiative to end the obesity patterns in lower income areas and in children. Beginning in 2008 Patterson passed a law that would require “public schools outside of New York City to collect and report a summary of students’ weight status.” The New York State Department of health report stated “To help guide childhood obesity prevention efforts in New York State, beginning this month selected public schools will begin reporting aggregate body mass index (BMI) data.”
Farley has developed many ideas that would make taking the stairs more exciting using examples like the Apple store in SoHo, which see’s almost no usage of its elevator as people like the lit up glass stairway featured in the middle. Another ploy includes making elevators smaller and slower to entice people to take the stairs, but the be-all-end-all is his idea to tax overweight people who “rarely, or never take the stairs.” Farley said in his press conference on Friday.
With the help of Governor Patterson, who has had ideas like putting a tax on non-diet drinks, Farley hopes to make this tax “…the real solution. Save money and lose weight. Stairs are like a free gym, elevators would no longer be a free mode of transportation.” Farley admitted that he is not exactly sure how he is going to do this yet, but plans on trying to give health records to elevator operators, or, for now, at least having the elevator operators “give a disappointed scowl when someone who looks overweight takes the elevator.” He even wants the operators to go as far as sighing heavily when these people take the elevator less than three flights.
”]“Governor Patterson and I are talking to the state legislator about ways to make this tax possible. If we can make cigarettes ten dollars, and keep them from being smoked in parks and in bars, I strongly believe we make fat people take the stairs.”