Brace yourself: Just when you thought you’d had enough with Big Pharma, Big Tobacco and Big Ag, here comes Big Junk Food to further skew Washington toward corporate interests. And this time, it’s at the expense of our children’s health.
As a recent Reuters article put it, “In the political arena, one side is winning the war on child obesity. The side with the fattest wallets.”
Thanks to those wallets, Congress has declared pizza a vegetable, and killed a bill that would have curbed marketing of sugary foods to kids. And the dubiously titled School Nutrition Association (SNA), a lobbying group backed in part by junk food manufacturers, is successfully blocking improvements in school lunch nutrition by feeding lawmakers – what else? – junk science.
Sadly, the valid research, which shows a clear link between poor nutrition in school lunches and increasing childhood obesity, is as effective as a knife at a gunfight when it comes to influencing public policy. When you compare spending from the food and beverage lobby to spending by those promoting healthy school meals, you can see exactly why. In 2012, the Center for Science in the Public Interest spent $70,000 pushing their cause. Simultaneously, the junk food lobby spent the same amount roughly every 13 hours.
Sign the Petition
We may not be able to count on Congress to help, but we can speak out and demand more fruits and vegetables and less junk food on school plates – not only for the nation’s children, but for the future of our already overburdened healthcare system, which will be forced to deal with the diabetes, heart disease and other obesity-related maladies as these kids grow older. The Union of Concerned Scientists has a petition you can sign here to support kid’s health. It will go straight to the SNA, urging them to support fruits and vegetables in school lunch.