Barnard to Bloomberg: step up your health game! »
New York City Mayor Bloomberg made a bold statement last week with a proposal to ban the city’s food stamp recipients—all 1.7 million of them—from using food stamps to purchase sugary drinks and soda. Responding in an op-ed, Dr. Neal Barnard took Bloomberg to task by urging him to “include the foods that are really driving the obesity epidemic”—namely, meat and dairy.
Dr. Barnard underlined some alarming statistics from sources like the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, irrefutably linking an animal-based diet to horrific health issues. Omnivores, for example, were found to be more than two times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than vegans—scary!
Dr. Barnard emphasized that a person could use their money to buy anything they desire, regardless of nutritional value or potential harm. But the less money the government hands out for Cheetos, bacon, and Hawaiian Punch, the bigger the incentive will be for supermarkets city-wide to stock their shelves with kale, brown rice, and almond milk. The proposed measure would also include a nutrition education campaign detailing the reasons behind the change. This, in turn, could revolutionize the health of New York City and provide a healthful model for the entire nation and beyond. Predictably, the soda companies have already raised a stink about their “bottom line.”
But the real bottom line is far bleaker: Eating crap—especially meat, dairy, and sugar—increases risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. And eventually, it kills. What you put into your body matters, a lot, and we need to make healthy food more accessible for ALL. Sounds to me like this is just the kind of healthful initiative we need.
[photo by andrefaria on Flickr]