Hey Hey Hey, It’s Skinny Albert


Editor’s Note: We’ve gotten somewhat political on ES before, mostly making fun of Sarah Palin and prohibition candidates, but actually we’re big dorks. In fact, after school I would rush home so I could tape–and watch live–Clinton’s impeachment hearings. I read Cokie Roberts’ book for pleasure and wanted to be George Stephanopoulos when I grew up. Anyway, it’s about time we used the blog for something other than talking about bacon. Well, just this once.

Our friend Josh works for Northwest Harvest and was recently in DC to lobby for childhood nutrition funds. Here’s his rant. Pay attention.

It’s time to put down the spatula and pick up the phone.

We need to tell our Senators and Congressmembers to invest in the future health of our population, our economy and our national security by strengthening the Child Nutrition Act to the tune of an additional $10 billion over ten years. Strengthening these programs will ensure our kids are receiving the proper nutrition where they live, work and play, AND go a long way to fighting childhood obesity.

The Child Nutrition Act is a large piece of legislation that comes up every five years or so and funds critical nutrition programs for our low-income infants and children, including WIC, national school lunch and breakfasts, afterschool snacks and summer feeding programs, and feeding programs in child care and adult care settings. Senator Lincoln has introduced the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 to begin the reauthorization process in the Senate, but the bill falls short of the full $10 billion necessary.

Study after study show that hungry kids simply cannot learn in the classroom. Chronic hunger has profound impacts on kids’ ability to focus, retain and thrive in our schools. Providing our children with proper nutrition for the school day is critical to the future success of our country.

The childhood obesity epidemic in this country threatens the future health of our population, our economy and our national security. For many low-income kids obesity and malnutrition are closely linked as families are forced to make short-term bargains, buying fast food or other high-calorie, low-cost foods to feed the family at the expense of long-term health consequences. Obesity puts kids at risk of heart disease and diabetes later on in life. Last year the U.S. spent over $150 billion on obesity-related medical costs.

The childhood obesity epidemic also threatens our national security, where three out of four 18- to 24-year olds today are unfit for military service, due in large part to either obesity or lacking a high school diploma. Strengthening the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 with an additional $1 billion per year for 10 years will complement other national efforts to tackle child obesity like First Lady Obama’s recently announced Let’s Move initiative.

We have a responsibility to ensure all our kids are getting the nutrition they need to be healthy and reach their full potential in the classroom and beyond. Ending childhood hunger is a matter of public and political will: we have the food, we have the infrastructure and we have the know-how. What we need now is the political mite to show our kids the money!

Call or write your Senators and Congressmembers today and ask them to invest in our children, invest in our future, and strengthen our investment in the Child Nutrition Act.

photo credit

You may also like


  • Maids April 13, 2010  

    Rock on. One thing that really pisses me off is that grocery stores are completely absent in poor neighborhoods in inner cities. You have to depend on corner stores that rarely carry fruits and never carry fresh veggies. It’s so much easier and cheaper to feed your kids McDonalds chicken nuggets (which are available on every corner) than to feed them apples. It’s just f’d up.

  • Capitalist Lion Tamer April 18, 2010  

    First of all, I’d like to say that I really enjoy this blog. I’ve had it bookmarked for quite some time after jumping over here from Eat Me Daily. However, you know as well as I do that if I’ve said something like that it will be followed with a “BUT” and here it is:

    It’s all well and good to want the government to make a larger effort as positively impacting the future of America. However, calling for them to “step up” by increasing funding sounds a lot more noble when you omit who is actually paying for it. It sounds a lot less grandiose if you direct it towards those funding these endless programs.

    “We need to tell our Senators and Congressmembers to invest our money in the future health of our population, our economy and our national security by strengthening the Child Nutrition Act to the tune of an additional $10 billion of our dollars over ten years.”

    Now it’s not so pretty. You are basically imploring us to ask our senators and congressman to throw more of our money at yet another project that will most likely net zero positive results. To alter childrens’ eating habits takes a lot more than occasional speeches, brightly colored posters and First Lady photo ops.

    Kids will eat junk food. It’s more readily available than nearly anything else. It’s also cheaper. Even good parents will take the easy way out because it’s much less time consuming to throw something in the microwave. Plus, kids are hardwired for quick, sugary snacks. They’re growing, and while the net benefit of these snacks is zero, it does provide a burst of energy.

    Then there’s the issue of vending machines/snack bars being used in schools to augment their income. Those would have to be removed and most schools are against it, mainly for financial reasons, which will always trump the greater good. (I won’t discuss the supposed underfunding of public schools here, unless you truly want the thread hijacked.)

    I agree that something should be done as childhood obesity is at an epidemic level. I’m just not so sure throwing citizens’ money into the government hat will actually get anything done, other than making some senators and congressmen look a little more human and allow them to coattail an effort that no one can condemn. (This is the same rationale that makes cigarettes and smokers a continual punching bag/ATM.)

    As for Maids comment: take a look at Chicago’s efforts against building a Wal-Mart in the inner cities. This would provide cheap groceries for those needing them, but the powerful labor unions would rather the projects starved than see their hated rival set up shop. So far, the city is still in the union’s pocket and the inner city still has no reliable grocery store. This story has been played out elsewhere, either by union power or by privileged (and “enlightened”) do-gooders who believe a big box store would blight the city/suburb/gated community.

    You could propose a tax on junk food but then you’d be right back in the regressive loop of punishing those buying the products, most of whom would be the lower income brackets that you’re trying to help. Frito-Lay and Coca-Cola aren’t going to magnanimously eat the tax. It will be passed on to the end user. And when they find the products they like to be prohibitively expensive, they’ll look for something else.

    This may send them to healthy foods but governing bodies are like junkies: if they don’t get their tax fix from junk food, they’ll slap a new tax on something else. Like gas. Or clothing. Or healthy food. It’s inevitable.

    Thanks for letting me rant. As I said earlier, I do really enjoy this blog. This was just kind of a raw nerve. Keep up the excellent work.

Leave a comment