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The Physicians Committee



NEWS RELEASE August 3, 2011

Health and Wellness Expert Jillian Michaels Urges Congress to Slim Down Bulging Budget Deficit

Five-Step Proposal Saves $383 Billion by Slashing Subsidies for Unhealthy Foods 

Jillian MichaelsWASHINGTON—Jillian Michaels wants to put the federal budget on a healthy diet. The no-nonsense health and wellness expert from television’s The Doctors is urging Congress to slim down the nation’s bulging budget deficit by making five cuts to food and agricultural programs that promote the production and consumption of unhealthy foods.

The five-step plan, laid out in a report from the nonprofit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), could save American taxpayers $383 billion over 10 years—and reduce obesity rates and health care costs for decades to come.

“Cutting subsidies for unhealthful foods would trim the nation’s budget—and Americans’ waistlines,” says Michaels in letters delivered today to House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Michaels is joining PCRM experts to propose eliminating the agricultural direct payment program, crop insurance, and agricultural pollution clean-up programs, since these programs directly or indirectly support the production and consumption of meat, cheese, sugar, and other unhealthful foods.

PCRM’s proposal also recommends reconfiguring the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly the Food Stamp program, to provide incentives to promote fruits and vegetables and exclude processed meat, candy, and other junk food items from the program.

“Cutting subsidies for cheeseburgers and sodas will mean healthier people and a huge savings in the process,” says PCRM president and nutrition researcher Neal Barnard, M.D. “SNAP is under threat when more Americans than ever need help. These reforms save SNAP and will serve more people for less money with healthier food.”

The plan’s five major policy changes will save nearly $400 billion in a decade:

Policy Change Savings (Over 10 Years)
End Direct Agribusiness Payments $50 billion
Privatize Crop Insurance $70 billion
Make Factory Farms Clean Up Their Own Waste $9 billion
Reform SNAP (Food Stamps) $240 billion
Reform Commodity Food Purchases $14 billion
   
Total short-term savings:
$383 billion

The report also recommends prioritizing healthful commodity purchases for school meal programs to fight childhood obesity.

For a copy of Michaels’ letters or the PCRM report, contact Vaishali Honawar at 202-527-7339 or vhonawar@pcrm.org.

Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit health organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research.



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Media Contact:
Vaishali Honawar
202-527-7339
vhonawar@pcrm.org

Neal Barnard, M.D.

Neal Barnard, M.D.

Related Links:

Cutting Costs and Improving Health: Federal Food Policy Reforms Could Save Billions

How Food Subsidies Tax Our Health

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