The piece I submitted to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that I originally previewed here, was published, and can be found here - albeit slightly edited. Today I will include the text for another piece submitted to the USAToday and currently under consideration.
RE: Do Food Stamps Feed Obesity? - USAToday
While I can’t say with certainty that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) (Do Food Stamps Feed Obesity? April, 20) is necessarily feeding obesity, like those organizations charged with recommending our dietary guidelines – it isn’t helping.
Getting kids to eat healthier is indeed a very important long-term goal. The impact on healthcare costs from doing so effectively would be enormous. However, the assertion that school lunches already have to meet “reasonable standards” is laughable. French-fries bathed in vegetable/canola oil counting as vegetables, and flavored milk containing more sugar than soda are not “reasonable” – they are incompetent. We can’t feed kids pizza and chicken patties everyday for twelve years and not expect them to later develop health issues or obesity.
Similar negligence also emanates from organizations like the FDA, American Heart Association, and American Diabetes Association - among others. Despite scientific evidence to the contrary, these folks still cling to dogma which vilifies something as harmless as saturated fat, while extolling the benefits of toxic substances like canola oil and margarine. Such misinformation then infiltrates our curriculums that, absent critical thinking and a self-emphasis on continuing education, produce a nation full of MDs and RDs that dispense outdated and inaccurate nutritional information.
SNAP, like many others, needs reform. Even as a 16 year-old grocery clerk, I could see the lunacy of the Woman, Infants, and Children (WIC) program providing for 64 oz. cans of JuicyJuice and sugar-laden breakfast cereals. But unless the reform is based on good science with an emphasis on real, unprocessed food - the war on obesity will be about as successful as the war on drugs.