Gov. Mike Huckabee’s health goals began in 2003, when he received a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes, which can be controlled by diet and exercise. He weighed almost 300 pounds. He believes lifestyle revolution can happen. With the help of doctors from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, he went on a strict diet and exercise program.
In March 2005, he completed the Little Rock Marathon in 3 hours 38 minutes.
He avoids eating at banquets and receptions and keeps a cooler of food in his car.
He wrote a book titled Quit Digging Your Grave With a Knife and Fork.
He also has promoted policies to help others in his state, including incentives such as exercise breaks for state employees, expansion of state insurance coverage to cover obesity treatment. Arkansas is one of a minority of states with nutritional guidelines for school lunches that are stricter than the federal requirements.
He advocated restricting access to vending machines for high school students and replacing the sugary sodas in them with juice and water, but it was Herschel W. Cleveland, then the Arkansas House speaker, who introduced a bill in the spring of 2003 to remove vending machines from elementary schools and introduce body mass index report cards. The bill passed easily, but with strong objections from parents claiming government intrusion and possible harm to fragile young egos.