WDEL Blog: Allan Loudell

The intersection of national security and young people's food intake

Here's where two ideals collide:

Conservatives love talking about their commitment to the military and national security. (Although some hawkish liberals do too.)

Conservatives also love to decry Federal government edicts on local functions, like schools. They decry First Lady Michelle Obama's efforts to improve the quality of school lunches, and gleefully retell any story about kids throwing out their fruits and veggies.

But is youthful nutrition becoming a national security issue? (I might add two other components: Confronting budgetary woes and new national standards testing, schools offering as little PE as possible except, of course, for the jocks involved in competitive sports after school; and too much time consumed playing video games, and otherwise behind a video screen rather than going outside for recreational activities!)

Consider this piece from POLITICO on retired military brass supporting the First Lady's nutritional campaign...



http://www.politico.com/story/2014/08/michelle-obama-school-lunch-fight-109914.html?hp=r11

Posted at 7:57am on August 12, 2014 by Allan Loudell

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Comments on this post:

EarlGrey
Tue, Aug 12, 2014 8:55am
What if our schools simply bring back PE classes and offer healthy (but tasty) food to students. Kids will always toss fruit/veggies in the nearest trash can at school if they don't eat them at home (and even if they do eat them at home)...it has always been that way.

The real problem is what these students do while not in school...the other two meals plus snacks/sodas and whether or not exercise takes place. IF parents acted like parents and made healthy food at home, encouraged outside play/exercise time and packed lunch for their kids for four days of the week (and allowed one school lunch per week) I think the military brass mentioned above would be happy but think Ms. 0bama would still want to tell everyone what they should/shouldn't be eating. Maybe she should concentrate on her hubby (who apparently still smokes and sneaks away to every greasy diner/burger place he can find when the Ms. is away).

I do believe that any food that is supplied by taxpayers should be healthy...and that's why EBT cards should be coded to only allow healthy food purchases.

Allan Loudell
Tue, Aug 12, 2014 9:56am
Mr. Grey--

I think you offer a lot of insight and wisdom above.

But let's not forget the parents smoking in their kids' faces; loading up on fatty foods; etc.

Maybe I'm guilty of stereotyping, but it seems a disproportionate share of the stories about kids throwing away their "healthier" foods, and schools and politicians resisting mandates to offer more nutritious foods are disproportionately in the rural South and Plains, and occasionally in a big city.

And we know the greasy, fatty, fried cuisine which is the staple of that region, beginning with breakfast. A lethal mix of such a diet and drugs killed Elvis!

Allan Loudell

Mike from Delaware
Tue, Aug 12, 2014 10:02am
EarlGrey: Well said. Sadly though, healthy food is more expensive than junk food. So to make the EBT card money go further, those moms choose less healthy food so their kids get to eat everyday.

The other thing is many of these mothers were kids themselves when they became moms. Their mom may have also been a kid when she became a mom, so generally these are uneducated women. The government should be giving these women some food training so they know about better choices, also the EBT card should only allow healthy foods, but should also contain enough money for that local regions food prices so she can realistically buy those better foods for her kids. Of course to do this would cost you and I more and we both know that sadly the TEA gang isn't going to go along with that. So those EBT mothers do the best they can with what they've got available.

EarlGrey
Tue, Aug 12, 2014 10:52am
Mike: Maybe to help lower food prices for all we should first stop using food (corn) in our gas tanks...ethanol lowers mpg, is worse for your engine, raises food prices (including meats), and costs more to produce than regular gasoline. I think most Tea Partiers would agree with ending government subsidizing farmers to grow corn for fuel.

"While Congress is busy working on health care reform, policy-makers are reluctant to admit that many of our nation’s health problems are linked to practices subsidized by taxpayers. An American diet heavily dependent on corn and corn-derivatives is linked to obesity, coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, Type II-Diabetes, constipation, joint pain, and other ailments. The tragic irony is that government subsidizes the low-cost production of the corn-based, unhealthy foods that make many people sick. Now the Obama administration wants to give these same policymakers responsibility for our health care.

According to the Environmental Workers Group, corn subsidies in the United States totaled $56.2 billion from 1995-2006. This government intervention has encouraged the widespread use of corn syrup as a sweetener in many manufactured foods. Yet many of the unhealthiest foods are those with the highest levels of high-fructose corn syrup. In effect, government subsidies have made unhealthy foods extremely cheap to produce. Corn syrup is now found in an unbelievable number of products ranging from salad dressing to hot dogs."
http://www.acton.org/pub/commentary/2009/09/02/too-much-government-makes-us-sick

Mike from Delaware
Tue, Aug 12, 2014 3:01pm
EarlGrey: I agree, corn is food for most folks, and is used in too many foods needlessly, and is very starchy, and yes, definitely not the best choice for weight loss.

Interestingly, I remember reading a number of years ago that the Brazilians are not dependent on the Arabs for Brazil's oil as they use sugar beets to make ethanol there; my guess is this is where the idea of corn-based ethanol started here due to the success of Brazil. Most folks don't want to eat beets of any kind, much less a gigantic sugar beet [I believe they are rather large]. Maybe that would be a way, thus lowering the price of corn, by switching those ethanol corn growers to sugar beet growers [assuming sugar beets would grow in the U.S. - I'm a city boy what do I know - heh heh].

We're faced with a double-edged sword; we're losing farm land like crazy, so if we don't subsidize farmers so they can make a reasonable profit they'll sell the farm and make millions and we end up with more malls, town houses, McMansions, etc., but also eventually would be dependent on other nations for our food. So we should take away the corporate subsidies the oil industry gets, and use that to help the farmers.

mrpizza
Wed, Aug 13, 2014 8:06am
Corn on the cob, anyone?

EarlGrey
Wed, Aug 13, 2014 8:47am
Rather than subsidizing farmers/oil industry, our government should stop subsidizing both and then stay out of the way of private-sector solutions to these problems... IF they truly want to help...the government could give tax breaks and financial rewards to entrepreneurs working on promising energy solutions (like using corn husks/cobs/leaves and switch-grass to make fuel)... leaving the corn itself to be eaten by humans or fed to cattle/poultry.
The governmental subsidies are creating more problems rather than solving them...if the government truly wants to help farmers, they could end the "death tax" that crushes family-owned farms passed down from one generation to the next...that is why most small/medium family farms sell the farm and McMansions are built (they simply can't afford to pay all the taxes on all the equipment/property/buildings/etc.)



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