August 2017 Issue

Editor's Spot: Fight for Our Nation's Health and Well-Being
By Judith Riddle
Today's Dietitian
Vol. 19, No. 8, P. 4

In June's column, I lamented over the fact the Trump administration has relaxed certain aspects of the school nutrition standards. Unfortunately, this is just one of several steps the administration is taking to dismantle various food, nutrition, and health care programs and services near and dear to the hearts of nutrition professionals and health organizations. I don't want to bad-mouth our president but simply write about these important issues.

The administration has delayed implementation of the Nutrition Facts panel and new labeling rules for menus and packaged foods. And it has several proposals on the table that could threaten the health and well-being of Americans (young and old alike) as well as our agricultural and food safety policies.

For starters, the administration's proposed Better Care Reconciliation Act will result in the loss of health coverage for 22 million Americans and an estimated 18,000 additional deaths over the next 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office and a recent Harvard study.

What's more, crucial food, nutrition, and health programs are in danger of elimination or drastic cuts in funding under the president's proposed budget for fiscal year 2018. If the budget is approved, maternal and child health programs that specialize in prevention, treatment, and screening will be eliminated as will the human nutrition research centers at Tufts University and Baylor University, school kitchen equipment grants, and the Farmers Market Nutrition Program.

The budget proposes to cut funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's chronic disease prevention and health promotion activities by $200 million, the FDA's food safety program by $117 million, and WIC by $193 billion over the next 10 years, and seeks to eliminate funding for programs that help farmers switch to organic farming.

To say the least, these proposals are shocking, unnerving, and will prove devastating for many Americans. My question is, "Why is this happening?" The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and other health care organizations have joined forces to preserve these programs and services by speaking up and writing letters to Congress. I implore all nutrition professionals to join in their efforts. Our country's health depends on it, and I'm sure everyone would agree that it's worth fighting for. Let us know what you think about these proposals on Facebook and Twitter and what you plan to do to help keep these programs alive and well.

Please enjoy the issue!

Judith Riddle