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School Nutrition Programs Insufficient Now

Status quo food program don’t overcome unhealthy influences

Haynes-Maslow, Union of Concerned Scientists Food and Environment Program PhD, MHA food systems and health analyst, and O’Hara, Union of Concerned Scientists PhD agricultural economist, 15

(Lindsey and Jeffrey K. February 2015, Union of Concerned Scientists, “Lessons from the Lunchroom.”, p. 3, Accessed 7/1/17, GDI - JMo)

At the same time, school food programs are not strong enough to overcome other unhealthy influences on children’s diets and prevent obesity. Our further analysis of the U.S. Department of Education data uncovered a worri- some trend in the type of drinks and fast foods that FRP meal participants were consuming inside or outside of school:

• FRP meal participants consumed sugary beverages and fast food more often than non-participants—on average, one more time per week each in comparison to non-FRP participants.

While it may not seem like a substantial difference, low- income children can least afford this additional junk food consumption—which may represent as many as 460 added calories per week.

To determine the impact of FRP meal participants eating both the healthiest foods and the unhealthiest foods more frequently than non-FRP meal participants, we examined whether their weight status differed. We found that FRP-lunch participants were more likely to be overweight or obese than non-participants. More speci cally, we reveal that:

Approximately half of the eighth graders in the FRP meal program were overweight or obese, as measured by body mass index (BMI), compared with only 30 percent of non-participants.

Access to unhealthy foods in vending machines at school led to weight gain in Hispanic boys, an effect that was magnified for those from lower-income families.

[FRP: Free and reduced-price]

Trump Budget Cuts Nutrition Programs

Trump cutting Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program by 20 billion every year

Evich, Politico senior food and agriculture reporter, 17

[Helena, spent four years reporting on food politics and policy at Food Safety News, where she covered Congress, the FDA and the USDA, 5/22/17, POLITICO, “Trump going big on SNAP cuts”,, accessed 7/1/17, JBC]

TRUMP GOING BIG ON SNAP CUTS: President Donald Trump’s budget, expected to be released Tuesday, will call for a yuge (read: greater than 25 percent) reduction in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program spending — a request that is politically infeasible but will trigger a public fight over whether cutting anti-poverty programs is a good idea

The White House is after more than just top-line cuts: Trump is also set to propose work requirements for able-bodied adult recipients of SNAP benefits and ask that states match 20 percent of federal funding for the program, administration officials told POLITICO over the weekend. The Associated Press on Sunday reported that overall cuts to SNAP in the Trump budget would total $193 billion over 10 years.

Health Care Costs Rising

Health care costs are rapidly rising- Congressional Budget Office Proves

Leonard, US. News Health Reporter, 16

[Kimberly, January 25, 2016, U.S News & World Report, “For the First Time, Health Care Spending Higher than Social Security,, accessed: 7/1/17, SK]

The federal government spent more on health care in 2015 than on Social Security for the first time ever.

So finds the Congressional Budget Office, the government’s nonpartisan scorekeeping agency, in a 200-page report it released about fiscal 2015, which ended Sept. 30.

The federal government spent $882 billion on Social Security, compared with $936 billion in spending on health care programs, including Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program and tax subsidies that help people pay for private health plans under Obamacare. The total represents a 13 percent jump in health care spending from fiscal 2014, according to the report.

Medicaid spending accounted for the largest increase in growth, at 16 percent or by $48 billion, because of the 30 states and District of Columbia that expanded the program to 9.6 million more enrollees under Obamacare.

Authors of the report warn that the federal budget deficit will increase in relation to the size of the economy for the first time since effects of the Great Recession began in 2009, projecting that the 2016 budget deficit will reach $544 billion, or $105 billion more than the previous year. The projected deficit would increase debt held by the public to 76 percent of gross domestic product by the end of 2016.

If laws around federal programs remain unchanged, authors of the report write, the deficit will continue to grow over the next 10 years, becoming even larger than its average during the past 50 years. Health care programs are projected to total 5.5 percent of GDP in 2016 and to grow quickly in subsequent years, reaching 6.6 percent of GDP in 2026. Medicare is projected to account for about three-quarters of that growth as the baby boomer population continues to age into the program.

The report could give ammunition to Republicans and others opposed to Obamacare, who predicted such an outcome on the federal budget. Supporters of the law may call for strengthening it, or for putting more cost controls on medical care and on prescription drugs.

Obesity Increasing Now

Obesity and its health care costs growing now

Fox, NBC News senior health writer, 12

[Maggie, was Health and Science editor for 3 years at Reuters, and a Health and Science Correspondent for 11, 9/18/12, NBC News, “If you think we’re fat now, wait till 2030”,, accessed 7/1/17, JBC]

Think Americans are fat now? After all, a third of us are overweight and another 35 percent are obese. But a report out Tuesday projects 44 percent of Americans will be obese by 2030.
In the 13 worst states, 60 percent of the residents will be obese in less than two decades if current trends continue, the report from the Trust for America’s Health projects. That’s not chubby or a little plump – that’s clinically obese, bringing a higher risk of heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, several forms of cancer and arthritis.
“The initial reaction is to say, ‘Oh it couldn’t be that bad’,” says Jeff Levi, executive director of the Trust for America’s Health. “But we have maps from 1991 and you see almost all the states below 10 percent.” By 2011 every single state was above 20 percent obesity, as measured by body mass index (BMI), the accepted medical way to calculate obesity. Those with a BMI or 30 or above are considered obese.
In August, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 12 states have an adult obesity rate over 30 percent. Mississippi had the highest rate of obesity at 34.9 percent. On the low end, 20.7 percent of Colorado residents are obese. CDC projections for obesity resemble those in Tuesday's report - it projects 42 percent of adults will be obese by 2030.
The problem isn’t just cosmetic. “The number of new cases of type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and stroke, hypertension and arthritis could increase 10 times between 2010 and 2020 — and then double again by 2030,” the report projects. “Obesity-related health care costs could increase by more than 10 percent in 43 states and by more than 20 percent in nine states.”
That’s bad news when states are already strapped to pay for public health programs such as Medicaid and the federal government is struggling to fund Medicare.
Over the next 20 years, more than 6 million patients will be able to blame obesity for their diabetes, 5 million will be diagnosed with heart disease and 400,000 will get cancer caused by obesity.
And some of them are frighteningly young.
"Now I am seeing 25-year-olds weighing 350 pounds who present with chest pain or shortness of breath," says Dr. Sheldon Litwin, a cardiologist at Georgia Health Sciences University. “Everything from the heart disease process to its diagnosis and treatment are affected by obesity. We see it every day. This really is the number-one issue facing us," added Litwin, who worked on one of a series of obesity studies published in this week’s issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The trend is not inevitable, according to the report, entitled “F as in Fat.” Some programs are beginning to make a dent in the rising rates. “We certainly see, in some communities, the beginning of some changes,” says Levi. “We know what some of the answers are.”
For instance, making it easier for people to exercise day in and day out, and making it easier to get healthy food. “A large-scale study of New York City adults found that increasing the density of healthy food outlets, such as supermarkets, fruit and vegetable markets, and natural food stores is associated with lower BMIs and lower prevalence of obesity," the report reads.
What about initiatives like New York’s controversial ban on the largest sodas? “Every community is going to experiment with different approaches. It is going to be very interesting to see what happens in New York and whether this makes a difference,” Levi said.
New York’s health commissioner, Dr. Thomas Farley, defends the move in the medical journal’s obesity issue. "How should government address the health problems caused by this successful marketing of food? To do nothing is to invite even higher rates of obesity, diabetes, and related mortality,” he wrote.
Trust for America's Health

Many studies have also shown that people who live in big, walkable cities such as New York and Washington D.C. are thinner than their rural and suburban counterparts, and it’s almost certainly because they walk more and use public transportation instead of sitting in cars.

If everyone lost just a little weight, the savings would be enormous, the study predicts.
“If we could lower obesity trends by reducing body mass indices (BMIs) by only 5 percent in each state, we could spare millions of Americans from serious health problems and save billions of dollars in health spending —between 6.5 percent and 7.8 percent in costs in almost every state,” the report says.

Childhood obesity increasing now

Haynes-Maslow, Union of Concerned Scientists Food and Environment Program PhD, MHA food systems and health analyst, and O’Hara, Union of Concerned Scientists PhD agricultural economist, 15

(Lindsey and Jeffrey K. February 2015, Union of Concerned Scientists, “Lessons from the Lunchroom.”, p. 5, Accessed 7/1/17, GDI - JMo)

Obesity rates among children and adolescents nearly tripled from 1970 to 2000, with approximately 16 percent of America’s youth currently classified as obese (Figure 1). In adults, obesity is often accompanied by a variety of chronic diseases, includ- ing cardiovascular diseases, type II diabetes, and some types of cancers. Factors that contribute to the development of these diseases are at work before a person’s birth and continue into adolescence. Therefore, today’s children face dire health consequences as they age, and health experts estimate that this generation of American children will become the first generation in history to die younger than their parents— due to obesity-related complications (Olshansky et al. 2005).

Childhood obesity is most easily measured by body mass index (BMI), the ratio of weight (in kilograms) divided by height (in meters) squared. A child is considered obese if his or her BMI is at or above the 95th percentile on sex-and age-specific growth charts as issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Table 1, p. 6).

Obesity increasing now

Fried, New York University Department of Nutrition, Food Studies & Public Health AND Simon, University of California Hastings College of the Law Assistant Professor & Marin Institute Research and Policy Director, 7

(Ellen and Michele, 7/20/2007, Duke Law Journal, “THE COMPETITIVE FOOD CONUNDRUM: CAN GOVERNMENT REGULATIONS IMPROVE SCHOOL FOOD?”, Volume 56: 1491, Accessed 7/1/17, GDI - JMo)

Increasing concerns over children’s health have focused the nation’s attention on what children are eating, especially in school. According to federal statistics, between 1963 and 2004, obesity rates quadrupled for children ages six to eleven, and rates tripled for adolescents ages twelve to nineteen.2 This alarming trend continues, with the latest data showing that more than one-third of American children—roughly nine million children over age six3—are either obese or at risk for becoming obese.4 Equally disturbing is the increasing diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes (formerly called “adult- onset”) in young people.5 For those born in 2000, the lifetime risk of developing diabetes, barring major changes in diet and lifestyle, is 33 percent for males and 39 percent for females; it is even higher for Hispanics.6 Because obesity and diabetes are linked to myriad health problems in adulthood, prevention through ensuring proper eating habits in early stages of life is critical.

Although the public is still divided over whether obesity is a public health issue or personal problem, many people believe schools carry a substantial burden of responsibilityjust behind parents and individuals—when it comes to addressing childhood obesity.7 This belief is well justified. The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) serves twenty-nine million school children every day and costs American taxpayers more than $7 billion a year to provide purportedly “nutritionally balanced” meals.8 Many students, however, fill up on items such as soft drinks, chips, and cookies, which are high in added sugars, fats, calories, and sodium, but low in nutrition.9 Such “junk foods” sold in vending machines, cafeteria à la carte lines,10 and school stores are known as “competitive foods” because they compete with federally funded meals.11 Although NSLP meals are required to meet nutritional standards based upon recommendations from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which recommend limiting total fat to 35 percent of calories and limiting saturated fat to less than 10 percent of calories,12 competitive foods are not.13 As awareness of the nutritional wasteland in schools has increased,14 the scrutiny of unhealthy food and beverages available in public schools has intensified and reignited political firestorms all over the nation.15

US obesity spreading now

Fox, NBC News Senior Writer for Health, 16

[Maggie, was Health and Science editor for 5 years at Reuters, and a Health and Science Correspondent for 11, 6/7/16, NBC News, “America’s Obesity Epidemic Hits a New High”,, accessed 7/1/17, JBC]

The U.S. obesity epidemic continues to worsen: The latest reports show that 40 percent of U.S. women are obese, and American teenagers are also continuing to put on weight.

The two reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that efforts to encourage Americans to lose weight — at least to stop putting on more weight — are having little effect.

Overall, 38 percent of U.S. adults are obese and 17 percent of teenagers are, the two reports find.

That’s obese — medically defined as having a body mass index (BMI), a measure of height to weight, that’s more than 30. Another third or so of Americans are overweight.

People are considered overweight when their BMI hits 25, and they are obese when it gets to 30.

Someone who is 5-foot-5 and weighs 149 pounds has a body mass index of 24, considered a healthy weight. Add a pound and the same person has a BMI of 25 and is considered overweight. At 180 pounds this person has a BMI of 30 and is considered obese.

Those with education beyond high school were significantly less likely to be obese.

The National Institutes of Health has a BMI calculator online here.

People who are obese have higher rates of heart disease, diabetes, some cancers, arthritis and Alzheimer's disease.

The teams at CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics looked at national survey of more than 5,400 adults for their first study.

The age-adjusted prevalence of obesity in 2013-2014 was 35 percent among men and 40.4 percent among women,” they wrote in their report, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

More than 5 percent of men and nearly 10 percent of women were morbidly obese, with a BMI of 40 or more. They’re at much higher risk of related diseases.

The team noted they measured just BMI and not body fat, but most obese Americans have too much fat.

Men who smoked were thinner, the team found. “For women, there were no significant differences by smoking status, but those with education beyond high school were significantly less likely to be obese,” they wrote.

The second study found 17 percent of children and teens are obese and 5.8 percent were extremely obese. Obesity in kids is measured a little bit differently — it’s how heavy they are compared to other kids the same age and height. Those weighing more than 95 percent of kids the same age are considered obese.

Obesity has decreased a little among the youngest children, the researchers noted, but it’s still going up among teens.

It’s not clear why obesity continues to worsen, despite many studies trying to put a finger on it.

“Numerous foundations, industries, professional societies, and governmental agencies have provided hundreds of millions of dollars in funding to support basic science research in obesity, clinical trials and observational studies, development of new drugs and devices, and hospital and community programs to help stem the tide of the obesity epidemic,” the journal’s editors, Dr. Jody Zylke and Dr. Howard Bauchner, wrote in a commentary.

“The obesity epidemic in the United States is now 3 decades old, and huge investments have been made in research, clinical care, and development of various programs to counteract obesity. However, few data suggest the epidemic is diminishing,” they added.

“The obesity epidemic in the United States is now 3 decades old.”

“Perhaps it is time for an entirely different approach, one that emphasizes collaboration with the food and restaurant industries that are in part responsible for putting food on dinner tables.”

Other studies suggest the epidemic will only worsen.

The Trust for America’s Health projects that 44 percent of Americans will be obese by 2030, while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention it projects 42 percent of adults will be.

And the effects extend far beyond disease.

A study by Gallup and Healthways shows that obese adults are 29 percent more likely to say they lack purpose in life and nearly 34 percent more likely to suffer financially than non-obese adults.

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