Controversy a la Carte
By Dulcie Ward, R.D.
This opinion piece was published on Sept. 5, 2006, in The Washington Post.
As one of the dietitians who compiled the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine's School Lunch Report Card, I was thrilled to see that schools across America are making so many healthy improvements. But contrary to the impression given by the graphic that accompanied the article, hot dogs and other high-fat, high-cholesterol foods do not make the grade.
Research has shown that people who regularly eat red or processed meats are up to 50 percent more likely to develop colon cancer -- the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States -- than those who don't eat meat. Hot dogs made with pork, beef and turkey simply have no place in a child's diet.
As our nation's schools continue to offer more low-fat, cholesterol-free, meatless entrees -- such as veggie dogs -- as well as soy milk, salad bars, fresh fruit and other healthy vegetarian options, we can begin to reverse the growing trends of childhood obesity and diabetes that threaten our children's future.
Dulcie Ward, R.D., is staff nutritionist with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.