HEALTHY FOOD

LOS ANGELES, California, United States (Reuters) - A new report from a California watchdog group is calling for the US government to disclose how much sugary soda and other unhealthy food is paid for with food stamps at a time when policy makers are searching for ways to contain the spiraling cost of diet-related illness.

It is the latest skirmish in a years-long battle over whether the goal of the federal nutrition-assistance program used by about one in seven Americans should evolve from simply fighting hunger to also encouraging healthier eating habits.

And it lands on the heels of a proposal by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to ban sales of oversized sugary beverages by restaurants, mobile food carts, and movie theaters.

Coca-Cola Co and McDonald's Corp. have slammed the proposal, which also has prompted critics to accuse Bloomberg of trying to turn New York City into a nanny state.

Nevertheless, there is growing concern about the social and economic costs of expanding waistlines in the United States - where more than one-third of US adults and nearly one-fifth of US children are obese.

"The federal government should not be fueling America's epidemic of diet-related chronic disease with taxpayer money," said Michele Simon, president of consulting group Eat Drink Politics, which produced the report.

Titled "Food Stamps: Follow the Money," it also calls for the disclosure of redemptions paid to individual retailers, such as Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., as well as fees paid to JP Morgan Chase and other banks that have contracts to process the electronic benefits.

High unemployment and a tepid US economic recovery have conspired to boost participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which, despite a name change in 2008, is still widely referred to as food stamps.

Spending for the program jumped to $71.8 billion in fiscal 2011 from $30.4 billion in fiscal 2007 due to high unemployment and a weak US economy.

"SNAP's tagline is 'putting healthy food within reach.' Without data on how much money is being spent on Coke versus orange juice, or Lucky Charms versus oatmeal, how will we ever evaluate the nutrition goals of the program?" Simon asked.

The US Department of Agriculture, which oversees SNAP at the federal level, found it was not cost-effective to capture food data at checkout stands when the program's processing system was set up more than a decade ago, spokesman Bruce Alexander said.

"We are preparing to launch a new feasibility study to see if today's system environment makes this approach more feasible," said Alexander, who added that USDA has several projects underway to capture information on food purchases.

He said other national data sources provide a fairly detailed picture of the purchase and diets of SNAP participants and that the data overall show few differences in the food choices of low-income and high-income Americans.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Muslim group calls for universal peace
    Muslim group calls for universal peace

    As predominantly Catholic Philippines and the rest of the Christian world observe the Holy Week, peace advocates like the Young Muslim Professionals Network (YMPN) are appealing to Filipinos of various creeds and persuasion to embrace the universal message of kindness, love and peace. The group issued the call as peace negotiations between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front teeter due to the Mamasapano incident where members of the rebel group killed 44 police commandos on a …

  • Ex-WB exec pushes BBL passage
    Ex-WB exec pushes BBL passage

    A former World Bank official has warned of dire consequences for the Philippines if the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is not passed into law. Nigel Roberts, former director on conflict, security and development, said that more conflict could occur without the BBL. “It takes about 15 years to get back to pre-conflict GDP growth rates, and 20 years for trade to recover,” Roberts said in his blog at the World Bank website. The World Bank estimated that economic losses amounted to $10 …

  • Despite typhoon, summer is here
    Despite typhoon, summer is here

    Super Typhoon Chedeng roared toward Luzon as the weather bureau announced the official start of summer in the country yesterday. The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) announced yesterday the official start of the dry or summer season in the country due to the termination of the cold northeast monsoon. “The general public is advised to take precautionary measures to minimize heat stress and take note of the need in optimizing the daily use of …

  • Noy told: Just answer the questions
    Noy told: Just answer the questions

    Just answer the 20 questions. The Makabayan bloc of seven party-list representatives made this appeal to President Aquino yesterday after his spokesman claimed the Chief Executive has already answered most of the questions posed by the militant lawmakers regarding the Mamasapano incident. For instance, he said the President has not yet explained why he allowed then suspended Philippine National Police chief Director General Alan Purisima to take the lead in Oplan Exodus or the mission to …

  • DFA: Malaysia paying rent for Sabah
    DFA: Malaysia paying rent for Sabah

    Malaysia does not acknowledge the Philippine claim over Sabah but the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) maintained yesterday that the Malaysian government is paying rent for Sabah, indicating it rightfully belongs to the Philippines. The Malay Mail Online reported that Malaysian Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman said Malaysia has not and does not acknowledge the Philippine claim over Sabah when asked by media about the reported offer of the Philippine government to downgrade its Sabah …

  • 63 OFWs returning from Yemen
    63 OFWs returning from Yemen

    Sixty-three overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are set to return home from war-torn Yemen, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said yesterday. Baldoz said the licensed recruiters of the OFWs have assured the government of their immediate repatriation. Administrator Hans Cacdac of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration has ordered the recruitment agencies to fulfill their obligation to bring home the OFWs. Baldoz called on Filipinos still in Yemen to avail themselves of the government’s …

  • Jinggoy gets furlough for shoulder checkup
    Jinggoy gets furlough for shoulder checkup

    Despite opposition from ombudsman lawyers, the Sandiganbayan yesterday granted detained Sen. Jinggoy Estrada’s request to undergo a medical checkup at the Cardinal Santos Memorial Hospital. Estrada was allowed to undergo a medical examination for pain in his left shoulder from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. The senator was ordered to shoulder the expenses incurred by the Philippine National Police in  escorting him. In a pleading filed Monday with the anti-graft court’s Fifth Division, Estrada’s lawyers …

  • Tekken’s Josie Rizal gets flak
    Tekken’s Josie Rizal gets flak

    A professor of the University of the Philippines yesterday hit the portrayal of a Filipino character, whose name was based on Jose Rizal, in a Japanese-produced video game. “(It’s) offensive and unsuited for a big company like Bandai because they have the money to do research,” Gonzalo Campoamor II, professor of Life and Works of Rizal in UP Diliman, told The STAR. Japanese giant Namco Bandai recently introduced Josie Rizal, the first Filipino character in the popular fighting game franchise …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options