March 10, 2007

Stop! You're killing me.

It's time to act. All across America.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest is leading the charge to RightSizeAmerica. In a well-written white paper the Center clearly lays out why we need nutritional information on menus across America.

The Center writes:

Given 1) the rising rates of obesity, 2) the increasing role of restaurant foods in Americans’ diets, 3) the negative impact of eating out on the nutritional quality of our diets, 4) the large portion sizes and high calorie, saturated and trans fat, and sodium contents of restaurant foods, and 5) the lack of nutrition information available in most restaurants, Congress and/or state or local legislatures should require food-service chains with ten or more units to list the calorie, saturated and trans fat (combined), and sodium contents of standard menu items on their menus.

I'll just pull out one statistical table from their 34-page report.

Leading Contributors to Premature Death (deaths per year)

Diet and Physical Inactivity 310,000 - 580,000
Tobacco 260,000 - 470,000
Alcohol 70,000 - 110,000
Microbial Agents 90,000
Toxic Agents 60,000 - 110,000
Firearms 35,000
Sexual Behavior 30,000
Motor Vehicles 25,000

We have hundreds of laws and regulations for all these "contributors", but few for diet, and I can't think of any for physical (in)activity. We can continue to pretend that the problem is "lack of willpower", or wait a few more years until we hear the voices of three million dead.

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