WASHINGTON, DC- With skyrocketing rates of Type II diabetes and staggering increases in healthcare costs, one would think that all parties on the Hill would be unified regarding efforts to increase the fruit and vegetable intake of students. However, objections from Republican lawmakers and several organizations to such legislation point out that the health of the nation’s children is not as important as trying to limit the reach of the federal government.
In 2010, the U.S. Congress approved the Healthy , Hunger-Free Kids Act unanimously in the Senate; but, 153 Republicans opposed it. One of the most important aspects of the federal statute is that it hopes to increase the daily intake of fruits and vegetables by the nation’s school children. Since its official roll-out date of 2014, a recent Harvard University study shows that the act has increased school children’s fruit consumption by 23 percent and vegetable consumption by 16.2 percent. This indicates a 5.75% annual increase in fruit consumption; and, a 4.05% increase in vegetable consumption per year since 2010. Metrics such as these indicate that the legislation did the very thing it was approved to do: increase the fruit and vegetable intake of school children. So, why is there opposition?
Rightly so, Republican lawmakers and several organizations have every right to call into question the role of government with any form of legislation. It is such checks that make the American political system a democratic one; and, advocate for limits on the power of politicians and transparency. However with currently 25.8 million Americans suffering from Type II diabetes, 215,000 of that 25.8 million being individuals under 20 years of age; and, a health care system costing $147 billion dollars (as to date) making it the most expensive in the world, what could possibly be wrong with the federal government approving legislation that aims to protect the health of the American people?
The very reason youhave a government is to advocate for and to protect your rights. The Declaration states that all Americans have the right to “liberty, justice, and the pursuit of happiness.” Regardless of one’s position in this world, when your health compromises your ability to live lifeas best as you can especially when your health issues are food induced, then the government is not doing their job. When you have politicians on the Hill advocating and approving legislation that subsidies the cheap and unsafe production of foods such as soy and corn; but, objects to legislation that calls for an increase in the fruit and vegetable intake of our nation’s kids, then that is unjust. And moreover, when politicians fight harder to curtail the reach of the government instead of putting that energy into restructuring a dysfunction and monetarily costly food system, how can one ever hope to pursue happiness?