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Pizza is still a veggie, Congress says

Pizza is still a veggie, Congress says

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Published by Lindsey Gemme
Congress has decided that putting extra veggies on the plates of American public school students is a waste of time and money...and I'm inclined to agree.
Congress has decided that putting extra veggies on the plates of American public school students is a waste of time and money...and I'm inclined to agree.

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Published by: Lindsey Gemme on Nov 18, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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In our schools, pizza will remain a vegetable despite attempts to fight obesityin our young. It's caused a firestorm of controversy, but will an extra servingof something green on a school lunch tray really help America shed the pounds?I'm going to say no.The obesity epidemic - you hear about it everywhere from newspaper headlines tohealth magazines and doctor offices. The government and health-related agencieshave been trying to get us to "eat healthier" for years.But we don't have to read about it to know we have a problem. We just have to take a look around when we go out to the movie theatre, the store, or even walkingdown the street. The evidence is everywhere.The word epidemic is thrown around so much, we've become immune to it, and merely shrug it off. How can being overweight be an "epidemic?" I'm not sick, many people respond. It's not killing me, like a true disease gone rampant. I've just got a little more around the middle. More to love, right?Indeed. But for how long? Overweight and obese Americans are becoming more the norm, but so are health issues related to them, such as heart disease, diabetes,high blood pressure, cancer, etc.Choosing to keep the weight on will only up your risks of chronic conditions, heart attacks, and strokes at a younger age, among other health complications. Didyou know that the United States holds the trophy for the most money spent on healthcare-related costs? To anyone else around the world, America is regarded asa "sick" country. According to the CDC, medical costs associated with obesity in2008 were estimated at $147 billion; the medical costs paid by third-party payors for people who are obese were $1,429 higher than those of normal weight. That's a "huge" problem, so to speak.And yet, something as prevelent as obesity can easily be eradicated with two simple solutions: Diet alterations through increased daily intake of fruits and veggies (smaller portions, too!), and getting up off the couch for 30 minutes to an hour a day.That's it.Until recently as I began to really investigate these issues, I did not know just how much of an "epidemic" obesity truly was. If you want to see the numbers for yourself, watch the frightening color show (http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/trends.html) about the weight trends over the last 20-30 years on the CDC website.According to CDC, one-third of the American population is now overweight, withsome states exhibiting a 30 percent and above overweight population. That's justthe adult population. American children, now, are beginning to exhibit the samedisturbing health trends. I was born in 1982, and since then, obesity among mypeers, and then their children, has nearly tripled. Today, about 17 percent (or12.5 million) of Americans aged 2 to 19 years are obese.But I am firmly of the belief that the cure has to start at home.An article on the New York Times website (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/16/us/politics/congress-blocks-new-rules-on-school-lunches.html?_r=4) came across my Facebook feed this week that grabbed my attention. The Agriculture Department hadbeen pushing the first change in 15 years to the American school lunch program.The biggest, and simplest, change was weeding out the amount of potatoes servedby supplementing more fruits and vegetables (excluding tomato paste!) in the diet of American youngsters. And hide the salt shaker.

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