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Seinfeld Alumna, Soap Star, Students Rally for Healthy School Meals

Even comedians know there’s nothing funny about the impact unhealthy school lunches have on students’ health. So last month, author and former Seinfeld writer Carol Leifer joined PCRM’s national school lunch call-in day. She asked Congress to give students healthy plant-based options in their lunch lines. In her phone message, Leifer asked every representative and senator to co-sponsor the Healthy School Meals Act, H.R. 4870.

Leifer’s call kicked off PCRM’s national school lunch call-in day on April 21. But preparations for the call began the day before.

Nina Gonzalez

Student activist Nina Gonzalez

On April 20, student activist Nina Gonzalez appeared on ABC News with pediatrician Jay Gordon, M.D. Gonzalez discussed how she successfully worked with her school system to make a vegetarian option available every day at public schools in her county. Dr. Gordon’s scientific demonstration showed the reduction in saturated fat a student would experience in a week if he or she chose low-fat plant-based options at lunch instead of a low-fat hamburger.

That evening, dozens of students and adults joined Elizabeth Kucinich, PCRM’s director of public affairs, and Gonzalez on conference calls during which they discussed the Healthy School Meals Act, why it is so important for the health of America’s children, and how to ask Members of Congress to support the bill during the national call-in day. Actress Deidre Hall, best known for her role on the soap opera Days of our Lives, also provided encouragement to participants during one of the conference calls.

Nearly 1,000 concerned physicians, parents, students, and citizens signed up to find out how to call their congressperson on national school lunch call-in day. More than a dozen celebrities and athletes have also asked Congress to support the Healthy School Meals Act: Basketball star John Salley, actor Woody Harrelson, Olympic athletes Amanda Beard, Hope Solo, and Nastia Liukin, and celebrity parent Tobey Maguire have all written letters.

And in a new commercial that aired on CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News last month, PCRM president Neal Barnard, M.D., explained that hamburgers, cheese pizzas, and other high-fat school meals are the key causes of high cholesterol levels and rising rates of overweight among young students. He also asked viewers to support the Healthy School Meals Act.

Now, the Healthy School Meals Act has more than 50 co-sponsors. But your help is still needed.

There’s not much time left before Congress votes on new child nutrition legislation. To make sure Congress includes provisions to provide children with healthy, plant-based options in every lunch line, visit HealthySchoolLunches.org and ask your congressperson to co-sponsor the Healthy School Meals Act.



 

PCRM Online, May 2010

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