Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Action Alert - 2010 Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act

It is not very often that I urge my readers to "do something now". However, I am urging all of you to send letters to your own elected officials in Washington now in order to impress upon them that more, much more, needs to be added to the Child Nutrition and Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Nutrition Reauthorization Act, first in terms of total funding and then for the inclusion of higher and uniform national nutrition school standards so that any increase in funding is actually spent on purchasing healthy foods for school lunches.

The Secretary of the USDA released a statement yesterday outlining his departmental goals and actions to improve school lunches and breakfasts. The full remarks are available to read here. There are many very good things included! However, as I mentioned, more is needed!

The easiest place I have found for you to contact your senators and representative (along with Tom Vilsack, Secretary of the USDA) to provide your voice is at the website for Chef Ann Cooper, The Renegade Lunch Lady. It is a clear and easy to use web-based communication tool to send messages directly to your own senators and congressional representative. A succinct sample letter will be shown to you with clear instructions where you can add your own personal statement.

The simple message is to ask for an additional $1.00 per day per student, not the pennies per day per student currently proposed by President Obama. Let's put our money where our future is and needs to be! In addition, please request that uniform nutritional standards (at a high level) be set regarding food purchases so that all additional money is spent on foods shown to reduce obesity (fruits, vegetables, whole grains) and increase nutrient intake (not empty calories).

I have sent my letter already (not the first time I have done so, just the most recent). Time is of the essence. Please do this today!

With approximately 1/3 of all our children currently overweight or obese and those who are ages 6-11 currently consuming ~50% of their daily calories as "empty calories", there is NO time to lose to turn around this epidemic of chronic disease rushing at us like an out of control freight train, bringing with it massive associated medical expenses, decreased quality of life (there is an amputation of the leg every 30 seconds in this country due to complications of type II diabetes, a totally preventable disease! - talk about decreased quality of life and downright misery), and pre-mature deaths.

For the future health, vitality, and national security of our country, we need to put our money up front where it will do the most good, and do it now. Please write today! Many thanks for your actions. :-)

"Cultivate your life - you are what you grow - inch by inch, row by row"

Diana Dyer, MS, RD

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