On a recent trip to Costco uptown on 116th Street, I noticed that almost all the children were overweight and most of the adult customers as well. The average weight of the American child has been climbing since the 1980s. Now 1 in 3 kids are obese or overweight. Projecting this observation, in about 10 or 15 years, more than half the adult population would be dangerously overweight. There will be millions of cases of diabetes, stroke and heart disease.
Apparently, President Obama tried to address this problem. He got behind the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which was to impose strict new standards on all foods sold in public schools. It became law in 2010 with overwhelming support in Congress. Although at the time the Republicans in the Senate seemed to support this bill, they now attack it as a nanny state intrusion. Food companies argue that the standards are too severe and some kids don’t like the food. It looks as though if the Republicans gain control of the Senate this fall, they will immediately gut the program within a year and with it will also be lost the fight against childhood obesity.
Last time the Republicans had the opportunity, they decided that the price of lunch would be driven up, that sodium reductions would be expensive and that children wouldn’t necessarily eat the lower sodium food. Apparently in the Reagan Administration, they allowed schools to count ketchup as a vegetable and pizza as a vegetable. It seems as though the Republicans again have no regard for the health of the nation.
It is clear that the population of our country is truly obese and not healthy. Something must be done. Healthy food may require children to change their eating habits. Maybe the schools need to have small gardens so the children can learn more about food and nutrition. Of course there is a cost but the cost is far lower than what we will be paying when these children are older and suffer from obesity, diabetes, colon cancer, high cholesterol and heart problems. Spend the money now to save money in the future.
Vote now for the candidates who will support the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act.