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food, nutrition, and health news


childhood obesity

Nutrition & Health News, week of March 2

  • On Wednesday, the USDA unveiled a new digital tool, called Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass. The website is a repository for data, videos, and stories of local and regional food systems, and is meant to spur public interest in and awareness of local food initiatives sponsored by the USDA. Check it out here. [Obama Foodorama]
  • A new exhibit on obesity at Walt Disney World was shut down after it was criticized for being “insensitive and [reinforcing] stereotypes that obese children are lazy and have poor eating habits.” The exhibit featured two superheroes, called Willie Power and Callie Stenics, who have to fight against villains such as Snacker and Lead Bottom – and, you guessed it, the villains are overweight and eat too much. While an exhibit on healthy lifestyles is a good idea given that nearly 30% of kids are overweight or obese, Disney needs to create an exhibit that doesn’t stigmatize being overweight and instead teaches kids how they can engage in physical activity and eating well. [CBS]
  • A judge dismissed a court case against seed behemoth, Monsanto. Organic farmers sought to protect themselves from being sued by Monsanto in the case that pollen from the company’s patented genetically modified plants ended up contaminating organic crops. Monsanto is infamous for its bully tactics and routinely threatens small farmers with patent suits. The judge dismissed the case because it was based on hypothetical suits and none of the farmers had claimed to be threatened by Monsanto. [NPR]

*image via USDA

Nutrition & Health News, week of December 9th

  • Michelle Obama announced a shift in the priorities of the Let’s Move! campaign from promoting healthy diets to emphasizing physical activity for kids. Food policy expert Marion Nestle believes the shift is a bad move, and that FLOTUS has given up on lobbying the food industry and others to make healthier foods because promoting physical activity isn’t as politically loaded. [Food Politics]
  • In a landmark move this week, Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius overruled the FDA’s petition to sell Plan B (the morning-after pill) over the counter to girls under the age of 17. Research by the FDA had determined that girls under age 17 (the legal age at which one can purchase Plan B without a prescription) were capable of making an informed decision to use it appropriately without a doctor’s (or parent’s) guidance, but Sebelius disagreed. Notably, she called for more research on the 10-11 age group, even though only 10% of girls are able to bear children at that age. [The Atlantic Wire]
  • Loopholes in the regulations around SNAP (food stamps) allow  beneficiaries in some states to purchase foods at Starbucks, Taco Bell, and KFC. Should the USDA be able to restrict the use of SNAP to only healthy foods? [Obama Foodorama]
  • An article in Time Magazine offers reasons why a tax on soda would work. The author posits that taxes imposed on manufacturers (an excise tax) would force them to reformulate recipes to include less sugar or high-fructose corn syrup rather than raise prices for consumers. I’m not convinced that’s how it would play out, but we’ll have to wait and see. [TIME]

Childhood Obesity by the Numbers

Nothing like some statistics to start off your Wednesday morning!

via Fed Up With Lunch

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