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Weekly Diet News Digest
by John McGran, Columnist

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Barack Obama and John McCain -- by now you’ve heard plenty about their views on the sagging economy and the costly war on terror.

But what do the presidential candidates have to say about the topics of food and obesity?

For this Diet.com Election Day Special, I went surfing for quotes about food and fat and the American way of life.

Far be it for me or Diet.com to sway your vote. We simply want you to get a more rounded view of the two candidates.

Why should we care what the candidates have to say about food and obesity?

- According to the National Institute of Health, obesity and its related illnesses cost taxpayers $117 billion dollars in 2002 alone and are estimated to kill more than 100,000 Americans a year.

- According to The Conference Board, employee obesity costs American employers in excess of $45 billion annually.

- Recent reports project 75% of the U.S. population overweight and obese by 2015, 90% by 2030 and nearly 100% by 2040.

- One in three children born in 2000 is expected to develop type-two diabetes, the risk of blindness, loss of kidney function, and early death associated with it. Up to a half of African American, Native American and Hispanic children are projected to develop type-two diabetes.

So let's take a look at some of the comments concerning food and fat.


“Parents must impart to their children a sense of personal responsibility for their health, nutrition and exercise,” McCain says.

“We should again teach nutrition and physical education to our children, and better inform adults what our foods contain and the importance of exercise.

“I support providing marketing tools for the fruit and vegetable industry focused on promoting healthier American diets.”

Obama says, "I will address differences in access to health coverage... I advocate physical education in schools and changing eating habits for kids.”


McCain is a supporter of small farmers. He “opposes providing billions to subsidize large commercial farms,” promises to extend federal assistance to farmers in the event of natural disaster, and will “expand access for U.S. agricultural producers to foreign markets, providing a great and lasting benefit to American farmers.”

Obama too is a supporter of small farmers, and claims he will:

1. “Implement a $250,000 payment limitation so that we help family farmers — not large corporate agribusiness.”

2. “Close the loopholes that allow mega farms to get around the limits by subdividing their operations into multiple paper corporations.”

3. “Strengthen producer protections to ensure independent farmers have fair access to markets, control over their production decisions, and transparency in prices.”

4. “[Support] immediate implementation of the Country of Origin Labeling law so that American producers can distinguish their products from imported ones.”

5. “Help organic farmers afford to certify their crops and reform crop insurance to not penalize organic farmers. He also will promote regional food systems.”

6. “Establish a new program to identify and train the next generation of farmers. He will also provide tax incentives to make it easier for new farmers to afford their first farm.”


McCain is for free trade when it comes to the world’s food supply, proposing to battle the problem “through reduction of trade barriers and improved world markets.” On the science front, he’ll “direct the USDA to carry out a comprehensive research approach to help develop more drought-resistant higher yield crops and increase production per acre. This will not only be critical to addressing our worldwide food needs but also necessary to combat global warming.”

Obama will address the food crisis partly by combating global poverty in general. Among other initiatives, he says he “will embrace the Millennium Development Goal of cutting extreme poverty around the world in half by 2015, and he will double our foreign assistance to $50 billion to achieve that goal. He will help the world's weakest states to build healthy and educated communities, reduce poverty, develop markets, and generate wealth.”

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@ 12:48pm ET on October 27, 2008 Go here to see a physician's evaluation of the candidate's eating habits:

September 2008
@ 3:43pm ET on October 27, 2008 Interesting! Thanks for sharing.
@ 11:26pm ET on October 27, 2008 Thanks for sharing this!
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