Let's Really Move Unhealthful Foods Out of School Lunches
The stalled “Let’s Move” campaign needs to get back in gear. The “Let’s Move” campaign has abandoned any major effort to improve the nation’s nutrition, focusing instead on noncontroversial recommendations about exercise. That strategy will not combat skyrocketing rates of childhood obesity, diabetes, and high cholesterol. The campaign should:
- Combat the myth that increased exercise can compensate for poor eating habits.
- Address government subsidy programs that perpetuate less-than-healthful diets.
- Work with Congress to stop retailers from profiting from sales of junk food under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps.
- Promote plant-based diets, which have been shown to be more effective than other diets for achieving long-term health and weight control.
About 12.5 million American children and adolescents are obese. One in three children born in 2000 will develop diabetes at some point in his or her life. The American Academy of Pediatrics has endorsed a recommendation that all children have a cholesterol screening performed between the ages of 9 and 11.
The average American now eats 75 pounds more meat per year and 30 pounds more cheese, compared with a century ago. Sugar intake has increased as well. The biggest source of “bad fat” (saturated fat) in the diet is dairy products. More than 70 percent of schools serve meals too high in saturated fat to comply with federal dietary regulations, according to the government's School Nutrition Dietary Assessment Study. Consuming processed meats such as hot dogs increases the risk of colorectal cancer, pancreatic cancer, and type 2 diabetes.
Scientific evidence shows that high-fiber, plant-based foods—including black bean burgers or whole-wheat pasta with marinara sauce—can help prevent obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.