Cancer Specialists, Pediatricians Urge Senate to Reform Farm Bill
More than 300 Oncologists and 400 Pediatricians and Other Physicians Call On Lawmakers to Ensure that Farm Subsidies Promote Healthy Foods
WASHINGTON—As the U.S. Senate prepares to vote on the 2007 Farm Bill, more than 300 cancer specialists and 400 pediatricians and other physicians from across the nation have signed petitions circulated by the Cancer Project and the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine calling on lawmakers to reform farm subsidies and food assistance programs to put good nutrition at the forefront of the battle against cancer and other diet-related diseases.
The petitions—modeled on similar statements from the American Medical Association and the President’s Cancer Panel—say subsidies and nutrition programs should support and promote foods low in fat and cholesterol. The Farm Bill now under consideration in the Senate would channel billions of dollars a year in subsidies and price supports to producers of sugar, oil, meat, dairy, alcohol, and feed crops used to fatten farm animals.
“Subsidies for meat, cheese, and other fatty foods foster the epidemics of childhood obesity, as well as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer,” says PCRM president Neal D. Barnard, MD. “Senators now have a choice—to vote for healthy foods and healthy kids, or to vote for the same old pork.”
In June, the American Medical Association called for subsidies and food assistance programs to be based on health. In August, the President’s Cancer Panel echoed the call for reform. As an alternative to the Senate Agriculture Committee’s Farm Bill, PCRM and many other health organizations are supporting Sen. Lugar’s FRESH Act, a recently introduced bill that would cut subsidies for unhealthy foods.
Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit health organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research.