Speak up for better nutrition
This article Monday reported lots of good news about nutrition in the D.C. area: Montgomery County Public Schools this year lists calorie counts for foods served in its cafeterias. The District of Columbia this past spring adopted tough new school nutrition requirements. And the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act is just a U.S. House vote away from becoming law.
The common denominator: In every instance, someone spoke up and said these things should happen. In many cases, that someone was an average citizen like you and me. Sometimes it was a person in a position of power -- Michelle Obama, for instance, advocating for passage of that child nutrition act. Sometimes it was a student, not old enough to vote but nonetheless determined to make his or her voice heard, asking for better school lunch fare.
With Election Day right around the corner, there are many weighty issues on our minds. But if we want our government to take action to help us all make better food choices and perhaps curb the obesity epidemic -- or if we feel that government should keep its nose out of such matters -- then now's the time to think about how our votes on Nov. 2 might help shape those outcomes.
But it's worth bearing in mind that politicians alone aren't responsible for changing what we now call the "food environment." We ordinary folks can help in a big way, simply by changing the way we and our families eat, the way we grocery-shop and cook, the number of times per week we choose fast food, the emphasis we place on sitting down for meals with our families, the amount of physical exercise we get.
What health- and nutrition-related issues are on your mind this election season? What do you intend to do about them?
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