: News

Filed Under:

Praise For D.C. Leaders For Legislation To Combat Childhood Obesity

Play associated audio
D.C. Council Member Mary Cheh talks to students at Alice Deal Middle School in Northwest D.C. about healthy meals.
Kavitha Cardoza
D.C. Council Member Mary Cheh talks to students at Alice Deal Middle School in Northwest D.C. about healthy meals.

By Kavitha Cardoza

The U.S. Secretary of Agriculture visited Alice Deal Middle School in Northwest D.C. to praise local leaders for passing legislation he says shows a "serious commitment" to combating childhood obesity. But it still isn’t clear how the program will be funded.

The Healthy Schools Act would mandate that students in D.C. public schools receive low calorie, nutritious meals, create farm-to-school programs and triple the amount of time students spend in physical exercise.

Nearly half of the children in D.C. are overweight or obese and Council Member Mary Cheh says this is a key part of tackling the problem.

"If you look at this as an investment, the return is fantastic, that’s just in terms of money," she says. "But in terms of well-being, people will be healthier. When you are plagued with diseases, life is a struggle."

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack called D.C.’s Healthy Schools Act "a good example of what the entire nation should be considering."

But implementing the law is expected to cost approximately $6.5 million a year, and it isn’t clear yet how it will be funded. Cheh has proposed a 1 cent an ounce tax on sodas, which has been vigorously opposed by several local businesses and soda companies.

Vilsack wouldn’t say whether he thought taxing sugary drinks was the way to fund the initiative.

"The issue of a tax on soda is a local issue and the people of the locale should make that decision for themselves," he says.

But he says the federal government wants to partner with local school districts. The Obama Administration is asking Congress for $10 billion over the next 10 years to support such programs.


No Meekness Here: Meet Rosa Parks, 'Lifelong Freedom Fighter'

As the 60th anniversary of the historic Montgomery Bus Boycott approaches, author Jeanne Theoharis says it's time to let go of the image of Rosa Parks as an unassuming accidental activist.

Internet Food Culture Gives Rise To New 'Eatymology'

Internet food culture has brought us new words for nearly every gastronomical condition. The author of "Eatymology," parodist Josh Friedland, discusses "brogurt" with NPR's Rachel Martin.
WAMU 88.5

World Leaders Meet For The UN Climate Change Summit In Paris

World leaders meet for the UN climate change summit in Paris to discuss plans for reducing carbon emissions. What's at stake for the talks, and prospects for a major agreement.


Payoffs For Prediction: Could Markets Help Identify Terrorism Risk?

In a terror prediction market, people would bet real money on the likelihood of attacks. NPR's Scott Simon speaks with Stephen Carter about whether such a market could predict — and deter — attacks.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.