- The Washington Times - Friday, June 25, 2010

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

As a dietitian who worked with D.C. council members on the nutrition aspects of the D.C. Healthy Schools Act, I want to emphasize how crucial this bill is to the health of the district’s children (“Officials wary of D.C. healthy food law’s implementation,” Web, Thursday).
 
Nearly half of the district’s children are overweight or obese—which increases their risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases. D.C. spends more than $400 million per year to treat obesity—and that amount will continue to increase if we don’t take action to improve children’s health.
 
The D.C. Healthy Schools Act would help kids develop healthy eating and exercise habits at an early age. It would help schools introduce students to fresh produce, whole grains, and vegetarian meal options. It would also help fight childhood obesity and lower obesity-related health care costs.
 
D.C. officials need to ensure that D.C. Public Schools has the resources and capacity to implement the Healthy Schools Act—and we need to urge Congress to support the provisions of the federal Healthy School Meals Act, H.R. 4870. These bills will give our children the best shot at lifelong good health.

KATHRYN STRONG, M.S., R.D.
Staff Dietitian
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine

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