Michelle Obama wrote on op-ed piece featured on the New York Times about her campaign to ‘end childhood obesity’, and targets potatoes as not being ‘nutritious’ enough to be included on the list of WIC approved foods. See below:
So we know that when we rely on sound science, we can actually begin to turn the tide on childhood obesity.
But unfortunately, we’re now seeing attempts in Congress to undo so much of what we’ve accomplished on behalf of our children. Take, for example, what’s going on now with the Women, Infants and Children program, known as WIC. This is a federal program designed to provide supplemental nutrition to low-income women and their babies and toddlers. The idea is to fill in the gaps in their diets — to help them buy items like fresh produce that they can’t afford on their own — and give them the nutrition they’re missing.
Right now, the House of Representatives is considering a bill to override science by mandating that white potatoes be included on the list of foods that women can purchase using WIC dollars. Now, there is nothing wrong with potatoes. The problem is that many women and children already consume enough potatoes and not enough of the nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables they need. That’s why the Institute of Medicine — the nonpartisan, scientific body that advises on the standards for WIC — has said that potatoes should not be part of the WIC program.
Unfortunately, this isn’t an isolated occurrence. We’re seeing the same kind of scenario unfold with our school lunch program. Back in 2010, Congress passed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which set higher nutritional standards for school lunches, also based on recommendations from the Institute of Medicine. Today, 90 percent of schools report that they are meeting these new standards. As a result, kids are now getting more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and other foods they need to be healthy.
Read more: NY Times