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Testifying about Sustainability and the American Diet

The day before yesterday, together with my UCS colleagues Lindsey Haynes-Maslow and Deborah Bailin, I went to the National Institutes of Health to testify on the Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. This report, prepared by a committee of experts every five years, provides the basic information for federal food programs such as school lunches and SNAP (formerly called food stamps), and is used to create the official U.S. Dietary Guidelines that are the basis for the MyPlate graphics.

Lindsey, Deborah and I testified about different aspects of the DGAC report, and they have already put their testimony up on their blogs. Here is mine, which focuses on food sustainability issues such as the climate impacts of the American diet.
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2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans: In Support of Limiting and Labeling Added Sugar

Yesterday morning, I took a detour from my usual routine. Instead of strolling the 2 miles from my house to UCS’s office on K Street in Washington, DC, I hopped on the metro and rode up to the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. There I met two other UCS researchers to attend a public hearing on the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s scientific report with one consistent message: that we support the committee’s recommendations. Below is a copy of my testimony. Read More

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In Support of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s Report

This morning, I woke up bright and early to allow for an extra long metro ride to the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.  I met two other UCS researchers outside the station. We walked together to the public hearing on the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s scientific report with one consistent message: that we support the committee’s recommendations. Below is a copy of my testimony.

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National School Lunch Program: Glass Half Empty or Half Full?

A March 13 article in U.S. News & World Report on the federal school nutrition standards barely gets a passing grade. Beyond misinterpreting the law, the article offers a narrow, glass-half-empty perspective for readers. For an increasingly politicized debate involving our nation’s children, it’s necessary to look at all the evidence. Read More

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A Lunchroom Lesson, Part 1: Repackaging Tobacco for a Food Fight

For decades, the war against tobacco was at the forefront of public health and has been cited as one of the greatest victories in the 20th century. Public health advocates fought for higher tobacco taxes, marketing restrictions, and smoke-free institutions to cut smoking rates by half in less than 50 years. Read More

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Major Surgery or Physical Therapy? Why Stability, Balance and Flexibility are the Right Prescription to Put the Renewable Fuel Standard Back on Track

The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is in rough shape after a couple years of controversy and uncertainty, and some critics are calling for the removal of major elements of the policy.  But the RFS is needed to maintain steady progress on clean fuels, and such invasive surgery is the wrong prescription to fix what ails it. Instead something like physical therapy is required. Read More

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Neighborhood Ministries: Putting Food on the Table and People to Work

In Ohio, more than 1 in 4 children lack access to nutritious food and are food insecure. In Youngstown, where nearly 40.2% of all residents and 66.6% of children live below the federal poverty level, an organization is working to combat childhood food insecurity. Read More

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School Lunch: Food Waste or Clean Plates?

If you give kids more fruits and vegetables, do they eat more? That’s a key question facing Congress as it gears up to debate legislation authorizing the National School Lunch Program and other healthy food initiatives for children. A new study from researchers at the University of Connecticut suggests the answer is “yes.” Read More

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Who’s Against Healthy School Lunches for Kids? (No Really, Who Is?)

Debates about child nutrition and the quality of taxpayer-subsidized school lunches are heating up in the nation’s capital. Last week, the Partnership for a Healthier America (the non-profit spin-off of the First Lady’s “Let’s Move” initiative) held its annual summit here. And this week, the School Nutrition Association, a trade group representing 55,000 school food service professionals, is holding a DC conference complete with “lunch ladies” lobbying members of Congress. Sounds great, right? Read More

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Lessons from the Lunchroom: What Do We Know About School Lunch and Kids’ Diet?

This week was the release of my first co-authored report at the Union of Concerned Scientists. Lessons from the Lunchroom: Childhood Obesity, School Lunch, and the Way to a Healthier Future details the extent of America’s childhood obesity crisis and how school meals play a role in influencing diet. Read More

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