NBA Champion Calls on Congress to Support Vegetarian School Lunch Options
John Salley Joins Rep. Polis for Capitol Hill Event Urging Child Nutrition Act Reform
WASHINGTON—Basketball star John Salley is the first person in NBA history to play on three different championship-winning teams—and now he’s aiming to score for students’ health. In a free Capitol Hill event, John Salley joined Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., celebrity chef Lauren Von Der Pool, Elizabeth Kucinich and Neal Barnard, M.D., of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), and Washington, D.C.-area students to discuss how improving school lunches could reduce the nation’s health care costs. The briefing, which took place Nov. 18 at the Rayburn House Office Building, also featured free food samples and a chance to get a basketball signed by Salley.
Speakers discussed how federal policies, especially the Child Nutrition Act, actually contribute to our nation’s high rates of diet-related diseases and stress our health care system. Mr. Salley asked Congress to help schools serve more fruits, vegetables, and healthful vegetarian foods. Rep. Polis discussed his plan to improve school nutrition. PCRM experts explained how improving school lunches would also lower our nation’s health care costs. Chef Von Der Pool prepared an array of healthful, child-friendly foods.
“Succeeding as a champion athlete or champion student takes plenty of nutritious fuel for the mind and the body,” Mr. Salley says. “Students need more fruits and vegetables that will help them stay healthy, fit, and ready to learn. That’s why it’s important for Congress to stay on top of its game by reforming the Child Nutrition Act.”
The Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act of 2009, which regulates the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program, will soon come up for congressional review. Many doctors and health professionals are urging Congress to revise the act to encourage schools to offer more healthful vegetarian meal options.
Salley previously played for the Detroit Pistons, the Miami Heat, the Chicago Bulls, and the Los Angeles Lakers. He is the first NBA player in history to play on three different championship-winning teams. He is also an actor and sports commentator.
Chef Von Der Pool, a former gang member who has become a successful Hollywood chef, specializes in exotic, vegan, and raw food cuisine. She has catered at the Oscars, Grammys, and other celebrity events. She also teaches a culinary arts course at Ballou Senior High School in Washington, D.C.
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.