Stephanie Swanson, St. Peter, Minn., letter: Congress should let anti-obesity plan workFourteen cents a day is going to be cheaper in the long run than the medical bills that would come with obesity.
By: Stephanie Swanson,
ST. PETER, Minn. — The U.S. currently is ranked as the third fattest nation in the world, with 20 percent of young adolescents ages 6-11 being overweight and obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
So, childhood obesity is a big concern. That’s why the blocking by Congress of the proposal for public schools to serve more fruits and green vegetables is worsening the problem of obesity.
Congress is undermining the efforts of schools to provide a healthier lifestyle for children.
Schools play a very important role in the prevention of childhood obesity. They establish a supportive and safe environment for kids to learn about healthy behaviors, while maintaining policies that let children practice healthy eating habits and physical activity.
And healthier school lunches are crucial to prevention of obesity.
That’s why the U.S. Agricultural Department wants make sure schools provide nutritious choices for students; it’s a key component of prevention.
But by blocking the proposal, Congress is preventing children from getting healthier food at school, food that would help prevent the disease that’s spreading throughout America’s youth.
Industrial companies such as Coca-Cola, Del Monte and Schwan argued that the proposal would raise the cost of meals. The agricultural department agreed, noting that an estimated 14 cents would be added to every meal.
Remember, 14 cents a day is going to be cheaper in the long run than the medical bills that would come with obesity. Obesity has severe medical implications, given that it contributes to high cholesterol, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and many other medical conditions.
These conditions can cost individual patients many thousands of dollars. That’s why paying 14 more cents a day for a healthier lunch is worth the extra cost.
With its action, Congress is contributing to childhood obesity in America. Congressmen should reconsider and let the agricultural department reduce childhood obesity while implementing prevention plans in public school.