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Health Food Movement Needs Political Savvy

There is a lot of talk about what we need to do about the obesity epidemic we are facing in the U.S… and that’s precisely the problem, according to Jane Black, a food writer for The Atlantic.

“To make real change, reformers need to stop preaching and start forming smart political alliances to get the job done,” says Black.

As she astutely points out, it’s not enough to be right. You can be right about every point on your food policy agenda, but if you don’t have practical and political solutions for achieving results, what good is it?

The problem isn’t unlike any other political battle in our country. You can have truth on your side all you want, but if you aren’t politically savvy with how you brand your messaging, good luck with winning those battles.
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National Grant Promotes Local Farms, Healthy Eating

October is National Farm to School Month, which was enacted by Congress last year. The concept centers around creating and promoting strong relationships between local farms and schools.

A national grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is meant to provide support for not just schools, but businesses and other institutions in promoting the use of locally-grown produce in their cafeterias. The latest school to take advantage of this healthy initiative is the University of Missouri. The state of Missouri has 78 school districts that use locally grown produce.
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Fat Tax Levied in Denmark

It’s finally happened: a fat tax is being implemented. Before you get hot under the collar, it’s not happening stateside. Yet. Denmark is the country bringing about the first tax to directly attack obesity.

“It’s the first ever fat tax,” said Mike Rayner, Director of Oxford University’s Health Promotion Research Group, who has advocated for quite some time the idea of taxes on unhealthy foods.

“It’s very interesting. We haven’t had any practical examples before. Now we will be able to see the effects for real.”
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People Eat Less When Restaurants Reveal Calories

Several years ago, The New York Restaurant Association voiced their opposition to the pending food legislation that would require restaurants to post calorie counts on their menu items. Since then, the law has shown little-to-no conclusive evidence that it has had any positive results. That may now change.

According to recent research, one in six people notice the nutritional information and buy foods with fewer calories. The report from New York City surveyed lunch crowds at 11 fast food restaurants. They examined the receipts of over 7,300 people 12 months before the law took effect and for nearly 8,500 customers nine months after it took effect.

Customers at McDonald’s, Au Bon Pain and KFC got 44 fewer calories from their foods after the law was implemented.
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Obesity Epidemic is Getting Worse

I don’t like being a pessimist, but are we all just doomed? Every time I hear new news related to our health, it just keeps getting worse.

What’s really leading me to a gloom-and-doom outlook is that no matter how highly publicized our health problems are and what’s behind it all, we continue to get fatter.

A new report by the nonpartisan advocacy group called Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has revealed that not a single state in our Union can report a decrease in its obesity rate.

“Obesity is one of the most challenging health crises this country has ever faced,” said Jeff Levi, executive director of Trust for America’s Health.
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