AGRIBUSINESS: Child Nutrition And Obesity

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Agriculture Secretary, Tom Vilsack, says more needs to be done to promote childhood nutrition and fight childhood obesity. Vilsack stated that these issues can affect children in a variety of ways.

“Youngsters who are hungry or those who are chronically overweight will have those chronic diseases that they take into adulthood and that will obviously increase the cost of healthcare and decrease the quality of their lives.” Vilsack said. He went on to stress that there young people who are dealing with weight problems and self-image and then there are those who are not fed well and in some cases don’t eat at all until going to school.

The Department of Agriculture has put healthier school meal guidelines in place to improve nutrition and they are taking steps to limit exposure to unhealthy foods.

“We can't send an inconsistent message by suggesting more fruits and vegetables, whole grains and low fat dairy and focus on calorie count and then have the vending machines filled with exactly the opposite.” Vilsack said.

He also stated that the USDA is also working to make sure children have access to healthy food when school is out. There are now 38,000 sites that are cooperating with the USDA across the United States to provide summer feeding opportunities for our children.

Vilsack then said that this is not just up to the government and the steps they are taking to improve childhood nutrition. He added that there are important roles for all of the people in the lives of our children.