Guest column: School kids pay price for pork bailout

September 30, 2009
by SUSAN LEVIN is nutrition director for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.
Des Moines Register

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has America's students over a barrel - a pork barrel. Recently, Vilsack announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture is purchasing $30 million in pork products and dumping them into the National School Lunch Program and other government food programs.

As a dietitian, I'm finding Vilsack's pork industry bailout a little hard to swallow. The government should be improving the food served to children, not loading down school meals with more saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium.

 of U.S. students receiving meals that are nutritionally bankrupt.

Our kids are struggling with the results of unhealthy diets. The percentage of overweight and obese children is now at or above 30 percent in 30 states, according to a new report from the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. And, according to current estimates, one in three children born in 2000 will develop diabetes at some point in life.


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