Letter: Is it intrusion, or about time?

Once again, Mr. Gannon has alerted us to his fears of the federal government and its intrusion into our lives [Letters, Feb. 16: “No lunch left behind?”]. Never mind that in this winter of our discontent here in Virginia we are trying to defend the most intimate rights of women against the onslaught of new regulations and demands from the Republican governor’s office and the Republican-controlled legislature – redefining “personhood”; what materials you must view before having a legal abortion; restrictive and costly building renovations to institutions that provide health screenings . . . all with an eye toward eliminating them. Not a threat, you say?

Mr. Gannon now rises to warn us of the threat of closer supervision by the U.S. Department of Agriculture over the feeding of our children in schools. With his signature slap at the current administration and Michelle Obama, he demeans the important work she is doing in raising awareness about childhood obesity and its attendant ravages.

From their “bully pulpits,” Lady Bird Johnson was for highway beautification, and Laura Bush extolled the importance of libraries and reading. Mrs. Obama now raises the specter of what untreated obesity will do to our children. Not to scare any more readers, but as the number on the scales increases, so does the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, respiratory failure, kidney failure, thrombosis, gout, arthritis, cardiac arrest, gallstones and cancer. Is this what we would wish for them? From the Center for Disease Control: “In 2008, more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese . . .” The obesity is “the result of caloric imbalance” – and, I would add, lack of exercise, sports or chores on the farm, and changes in lifestyle, among many other factors.

The question becomes twofold: How do you want to spend your later years after eating an impossibly poor diet sponsored by our food conglomerates? And, are you willing to put up now with the minor costs of prevention to save billions from being spent later in curing or ameliorating the effects of the list above?

No more hot dogs? Fourth of July celebrations will still include hot dogs, I’m sure, along with fireworks and marching bands – and, best of all, children fit enough to walk the whole parade route.

Nol Putnam

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