FarmPolicy

December 21, 2014

Farm Bill; USDA (Staff Change); Ag Economy; and Biofuels

Farm Bill: Nutrition

Tim Carman reported in today’s Washington Post that, “Calling it not only a national health issue but also a military one, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Thursday proposed to overhaul the nutrition guidelines for public school meals for the first time since 1995, when Americans were mostly alarmed by the fat content of food.

“The proposed rules are far more wide-ranging and would gradually reduce sodium, limit starchy vegetables, ban most trans fats, require fat-free or lowfat milk, increase whole grains, add more fruits and vegetables, and, for the first time, limit the number of calories children consume daily [see an example here]. The guidelines are consistent, Vilsack said, with first lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move initiative, which promotes healthier eating for children.

“‘The numbers are rather troubling. We have today nearly a third of our youngsters at risk of being obese or, in fact, are obese in our schools,’ he said in a conference call Thursday [audio replay available here]. He added: ‘If we do not get our hands around the obesity epidemic in the United States by the year 2018, we will face nearly $344 billion of additional health-care costs. That’s money we won’t be able to spend on innovation and creating jobs and improving our education system.’”

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