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Posted at 9:54 PM ET, 05/ 5/2010

Healthier schools, healthier children

By washingtonpost.com editors

By Joshua Kolko
Washington

Kudos to the D.C. Council and, especially council member Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3), for championing the Healthy Schools Act.

As a family physician on the front lines of this city’s battle against childhood obesity, I know that these changes to school cuisine and school-time exercise would go far to improve the health and future of D.C. children. I urge the rest of the country to pay close attention to our city’s leadership on this issue and follow suit. This is government at its finest: crafting pragmatic, thoughtful, intelligent legislation that can improve our children’s health the moment they set foot in the classroom.

And I further urge the council to pay for this excellent program with a soda tax, a fitting source of revenue with negligible impact on our wallets.

By washingtonpost.com editors  | May 5, 2010; 9:54 PM ET
Categories:  D.C., schools  
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Comments

As a registered dietitian, I have been involved in strategies to combat obesity for most of my career, and agree that childhood obesity is a serious and complex problem. While I think the Healthy Schools Act is a well-intentioned program, funding it should not come down to demonizing or taxing a single product.
We need to recognize that solving obesity requires holistic and comprehensive solutions. No one food or beverage is responsible for this multi-factorial problem; and for the District to simply place a tax on one specific beverage will not solve it. Nutrition education, regular physical activity and eating a balanced diet are essential to a leading a balanced and healthy lifestyle.
The majority of science shows that calorie balance is the key to both losing and maintaining a healthy weight. This is reaffirmed by both a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine and simple common sense. The D.C. Council is right to look for solutions to help the city combat childhood obesity. But suggesting that a tax on beverages will solve it misleads consumers in, frankly, an unhealthy way.

Lisa Katic, R.D.

Posted by: RDonFacts | May 6, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

What a coincidence . . . Lisa Katic, R.D. works for the soda industry: http://www.gmabrands.com/about/Individual.cfm?PersonID=30

Tax soda. Not yoga.

Posted by: 20017dc | May 7, 2010 12:55 AM | Report abuse

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