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Blog for Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Good evening, everyone! Welcome to today's blog post, where we'll look at some of the day's most interesting(according to me, anyway) health and nutrition news stories, as per usual. First up,  this article tells us about a draft bill which was prepared by the House Education and Workforce Committee in our country's House of Representatives. This new bill, called a "Child Nutrition Reauthorization"(CNR) bill, would roll back many of the implements of the 2010 "Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act". There would be a block on future sodium reductions, as well as stricter requirements for schools to meet to qualify for the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), which offers universal free lunches to all students in school districts where 40% of the students qualify for free lunches. I am an advocate for freedom, but this seems egregious. Dietary habits and patterns begin so early, shouldn't America's children be given a "leg-up" in learning healthy habits? This just doesn't seem like an issue that should be politicized to me. As someone famously said/sang, "I believe the children are our future, teach them well, and let them lead the way!" Moving in the opposite direction, this article from Knoxville's News-Sentinel tells us about Phil Roe's Healthy Food Choices Act. Since we discussed this when it was announced a few weeks back, I won't spend much time on it today, but there are a few facts in the article worth mentioning. (There was also an article just a few weeks ago that told us that Tennessee has 4 of the 14 fattest metro areas in the country.) "Frankly, many Tennesseans need to make more nutritious choices.Obesity incidence in Tennessee has nearly tripled since 1990 to 31.2 percent. Tennessee ranks second in the nation in diabetes and sixth in hypertension occurrence." Ouch. Let's hope politics don't sabotage what is clearly good for Americans. 

Next up, I'm sure most of you have heard of "antibiotic-free" chicken, beef, etc. Many health experts and knowledgeable consumers have called for large food companies (such as McDonald's) to discontinue using meat from animals that have been fed antibiotics. The science behind their thinking is that these are the same antibiotics used to treat infections and illnesses in humans, and that eating this antibiotic-laden meat could one day result in antibiotic-resistant super-bacteria, which would then be untreatable. Farmers were infusing their animals food with these antibiotics to prevent illness. With the trend being towards antibiotic-free livestock, how's a farmer supposed to keep his animals healthy? According to this article, some farmers are boosting their livestock's immune system the same way many humans boost their own: with probiotics, such as those found in yogurt. By naturally boosting the good bacteria in these animals' stomachs, they can stay healthy without creating those super-bacteria. Sounds like a plan to me! 

Lastly, in a recent blog post I discussed an article regarding a proposal in the United Kingdom to include "exercise equivalents" on food labels. I thought, and still think, that this is a pretty good idea. This article disagrees. It's author thinks that these labels instill guilt and confusion in people, and that "exercise equivalents" would compound this. I disagree. To reiterate my previous example, knowing I would have to walk 2 miles to burn off a candy bar is more concrete and clear than "200 calories". There will always be a myriad of opinions about anything, however. And the author did make 2 points that I'll leave you with. 1)" Most packaged foods requiring labels are probably things we should not be eating in the first place, and that we would not require labels for homemade equivalents of such foods, nor have the same nutritional concerns." 2)"“Packaging should not only provide nutritional information but should also help people to change behavior.” Unfortunately it is not working, since North Americans and Britons are more overweight than ever." I just hope that there's something societally or culturally or however that will help us to be healthy, my friends. 

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