Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Breaking News on Healthy Eating (and Lower Prices!)

This New York Times article is full of interesting ideas.

1. Breaking news: To avoid obesity government says, "Eat less"!
"More important, perhaps, the government told Americans, 'Enjoy your food, but eat less.' Many Americans eat too many calories every day, expanding their waistlines and imperiling their health.

"While the recommendations may seem obvious, it is nonetheless considered major progress for federal regulators, who have long skirted the issue, wary of the powerful food lobby. (The 112-page report even subtly suggests that people eat less pizza and dessert.) [Maybe the pizza lobby hasn't done enough campaign giving.]

"Previous guidelines urged Americans to curb sugar, solid fats and salt, but avoided naming specific foods, let alone urging consumers to eat less food over all.

"'For them to have said ‘eat less’ is really new. Who would have thought?' said Margo G. Wootan, director of nutrition policy at the Center for Science in the Public Interest. 'We should have been saying ‘eat less’ for a decade.'" [The third world is way ahead of us here. Unless Gary Taubes is right.]
2. Change behavior with more direct and simple communication.
"Robert C. Post, deputy director of the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion at the Agriculture Department, said regulators hoped simple messages would resonate better than the more technical prose of the past.

"'Maybe that is what will help this time to get the consumer’s attention,' he said.
3. Lower prices by applying pressure.
"Just two weeks ago, Wal-Mart Stores announced a five-year plan to reformulate its store-brand packaged foods and drop the price on fruits and vegetables. Wal-Mart said it would pressure its major suppliers to do the same."
4. Plant more fruits and vegetables and people will eat more fruits and vegetables
"August Schumacher Jr., a former agriculture under secretary, said government farm policies needed to be revised to provide incentives for farmers across the country to plant more fruits and vegetables."
5. Those on food stamps could be "helped" first.
"In addition, Mr. Schumacher, now executive vice president of Wholesome Wave, a nonprofit group that promotes access to healthy foods, said the government needed to help consumers, particularly those on food stamps, get access to fruits, vegetables and other foods recommended in the guidelines."
The rub? People ignore government advice.
"But many Americans already eat more calories each day than they are supposed to eat by ignoring the dietary guidance."
H/T Le-gal In-sur-rec-tion

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