Stories tagged with obesity

playing too nice

Is there too much ‘Let’s Hope’ in the ‘Let’s Move’ anti-obesity campaign?

The industry talks a good game, but keeps churning out the same old junk. It’s no mystery that Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move anti-obesity campaign is built on industry cooperation. It’s also true that many experts are skeptical of the wisdom behind it; nutritionist Marion Nestle has been particularly critical both of the government’s food industry “health” partnerships as well as of the administration’s unwillingness to fight the industry’s relentless media advertising. I tend to agree. While the Let’s Move initiative is full of worthy proposals, especially in the area of addressing food deserts and promoting farm-to-city initiatives, the idea of …

Cafeteria Confidential

Can Michelle Obama make the math work for better school food?

Launching her anti-obesity campaign — “Let’s Move” — last week, First Lady Michelle Obama vowed to add 1 million kids to the 31 million already being served daily by federal reimbursable meal programs while cutting back on the foods kids like most — refined grains, potatoes, sugar, salt — and adding things kids like least — vegetables and whole grains. Meanwhile, President Barack Obama offered to split $1 billion per year over the next 10 years between schools and other meal programs, an amount school food advocates say isn’t enough to add even an apple to kids’ cafeteria trays. Sound like a winning strategy? Impressively, …

She didn't. Or did she?

Did Michelle Obama get the president to create a national Food Policy Council?

Michelle Obama kicked off her campaign against childhood obesity today. Among the provisions are a revamping of the school lunch program, a small boost in funding for farmers markets, a major initiative to “end” food deserts by 2017, a focus on maintaining children’s exercise levels, a set of broad public-private partnerships, along with reforms to front-of-package nutrition labeling and the food pyramid (see the Washington Post‘s Jane Black for a good summary). But the most intriguing element may have been the creation of The Presidential Task Force on Childhood Obesity. According to the White House blog: The new task force …

Cafeteria Confidential

Washington Times puts screws to city’s food provider, Chartwells

By some sort of crazy coincidence, a reporter for the Washington Times was investigating Chartwells, the contracted food provider for D.C. Public Schools, at the same time that I was spending a week in a school kitchen discovering just how bad our school food is. Times reporter Jeffrey Anderson, meanwhile, reveals in a report today that Chartwells in the past has continued to use the same foods that have been linked to disease outbreaks in different cities where they hold school contracts. The Times questions whether the food Chartwells is serving in D.C. actually complies with federal standards. It also rakes the food …

Amuse bouche

Did Jamie Oliver meet his match in ‘America’s Fattest City’?

When last we saw British superstar chef-turned-food-system-reformer Jamie Oliver, he was in the midst of teaching “the fattest city in America” how to cook. How did it go? Well, thanks to the miracle that is reality television, we’ll find out one episode at a time. The series — Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution — doesn’t premiere until the end of March. But ABC has provided us a sneak peak. Key takeaway? The recalcitrant residents of Huntington, West Virginia have driven poor Jamie to tears. Tom says check it out: Other than making for compelling television, will Jamie’s efforts to teach America …

Cafeteria Confidential

Tales from a D.C. school kitchen: Hold the fat and please pass the sugar

Ed Bruske recently spent a week in the kitchen at H.D. Cooke Elementary School in the District of Columbia observing how food is prepared. This is the second of a six-part series of posts about what he saw. Read parts 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6. Cross-posted from The Slow Cook. And check out the rest of the Cafeteria Confidential series. At 7:30 a.m., the first glimmer of daybreak tints a wall of windows in the big, new dining area at H.D. Cooke Elementary School. Three children sit with food they’ve brought from home; their eyes are glued to a wall-mounted television monitor tuned to …

Cafeteria Confidential

Tales from a D.C. school kitchen: What kids will do to avoid vegetables

Ed Bruske recently spent a week in the kitchen at H.D. Cooke Elementary School in the District of Columbia observing how food is prepared. This is the third of a six-part series of posts about what he saw. Read parts 1, 2, 4, 5, and 6. Cross-posted from The Slow Cook. And check out the rest of the Cafeteria Confidential series. Each morning Mattie Hall performs a ritual in the cafeteria at H.D. Cooke elementary school. She takes 17 blue, insulated travel bags and lines them up on the lunch counter. Then she begins filling the bags with fruits or vegetables from …

good for bottom lines, bad for waistlines

How the 40 year drop in the minimum wage helped cause obesity

I have written about the link between wages and obesity before — with wages dropping since the 60s and healthy food prices always going up, people eat more unhealthy food. But now two economists have drilled down into these issues and claim to have found a specific link between a drop in the minimum wage and obesity: Growing consumption of increasingly less expensive food, and especially “fast food”, has been cited as a potential cause of increasing rate of obesity in the United States over the past several decades. Because the real minimum wage in the United States has declined …

battle royal

Is Michelle Obama about to take on Big Food?

With all the talk of Michael Pollan and Jamie Oliver lately, it’s easy to ignore the person who right now is, given her current address, the most influential voice on food policy in the country. Naturally, I’m talking about First Lady Michelle Obama. While she’s been exercising what diplomats would call her “soft power” for a while, i.e. planting a garden, making speeches on healthy eating, and so on, indications are that she’s quietly developing a set of policy recommendations to reform the food system. Obama Foodorama has been tirelessly reporting on these maneuvers, which have remained under the radar …

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