The Military dishes up School Lunch


Basic Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 – Republished article.

Undernutrition and malnutrition are very different animals, except when it comes to the convergence of soldiers and school lunch.

The school lunch program was started during the Great Depression in 1935.  It was a fantastic solution to two national problems.

  1. Farmers had surplus produce that many people could not afford leading to a drop in price.
  2. Children were going hungry because of the 25% unemployment rate – 75% in minority communities.

The Secretary of Agriculture was given funding to purchase surplus foods for a school lunch program via the Congress.[i] School children across the nation began to have at least school lunch as a daily meal.  During World War II, the surplus food supply dwindled as the nation had to feed a military stationed around the globe.  By the end of the war the congress was thinking of ending the program.  However, the military spoke up.

The Surgeon General of the Armed Forces testified in 1946 that, “70 percent of the boys who had poor nutrition 10-12 years ago were rejected by the draft.”  That meant boys between the ages of 8-14 during 1934-36 with limited food sources became a “threat to national security” due to the fact that the US could have had difficulty assembling a military force due to the stunted growth from undernutrition.  This testimony was the linchpin to continuing funding.[ii] 

 Skip ahead to 2010.  Thirty percent of teens are overweight or obese.  This comes from “malnutrition”.  They have food to eat, but the food is extremely high in fat and sodium and lacking fiber and many vitamins and minerals.  Until now, the military has been pretty silent about school lunch, school breakfast or any other federal nutrition program, even though many of their employees have wages and salaries low enough to qualify for a number of public welfare programs.

However, on April 20, 2010 retired Navy Rear Adm. James Barnett Jr. with a group of officers called, Mission: Readiness, spoke to Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack.  Adm. Barnett said that, “When over a quarter of young adults are too fat to fight, we need to take notice.”  Again, the military speaks up because lousy nutrition leads to lack of national security.

School lunch never hits the front page and yet it affects every child in public school, approximately 45-50  million Americans.[iii]  Music and art programs are being slashed and the military had approximately 23% of the 2009 US Federal spending.  One budget of theirs isn’t even allowed to be public.  There are weapons systems, which have been denounced by top military brass, being built at the cost of millions.  But we hear little to nothing about school lunch and school breakfast programs which have not had an increase in reimbursement since 1973.  So,  now they want to help out the poor little lunch ladies. 

The military also wants to help out the phys ed department because so much money is being spent to train new recruits when seasoned soldiers are too heavy and are discharged.  Military recruiters want to work with schools to help recruits lose weight before they try and sign on the dotted line. One recruiter was quoted as saying, “This is the future of our Army we are looking at when we talk about these 17- to 24-year-olds. The sad thing is a lot of them want to join but can’t.”.[iv] It’s great the military is motivated to preventative measures.  

 Well, that’s one way to look at it.  Another way is that the military industrial complex may not have the fodder it needs to continue its various “security” operations around the world.  If we don’t have an abundant supply of healthy young people we may not be able to continue as the world’s police department.   What would we have done if we didn’t have recruits to go to Afganistan and search for vaporous weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

 The former president of the American Medical Association, Ron Davis, MD, stated he had spent all of his time in office, 2007-2008, trying to get one word changed in defining Medicare and Medicaid.  He lobbied that the word, preventative, be added to the type of care covered by these two programs.  On a phone conversation he said that if preventative medicine were available to people who qualified for these programs costs would decrease because the high expense of treating diabetes, progressive cancers and health problems related to obesity could be addressed early on.  It still has not happened. 

 But with Haliburton on board all things are possible.

[i] Food Research and Action Center. 2008. Commodity Foods and the Nutrition Quality of the National School Lunch Program: Historical Role, Current, operations, and Future Potential.  Executive Summary. FRAC. Retrieved from : on May 12, 2010.

[ii] Boyle M. 2003. Historical Background of Food Assistance Programs. Community Nutrition in Action: An Entrepreneurial Approach, pg. 124-125.  Wadsworth, Belmont California.

[iii] Institute of Education Sciences. [nd] Fast Facts. Retrieved from on May 18, 2010.

[iv] Jalonick MC, [2010] Are school lunches a national security threat?, Military Discusstion. com, April 20. Retrieved from on May 18, 2010


Provider & Patient: Beside myself in Obamacare

Hmm, why don't patients care?

Hmm, why don’t patients care?


Okay, I provide healthcare and I need healthcare.  So, my question is what do I get and what can I give?

Being a dietitian, I know that my main money maker is in preventative care.  That might sound a bit crass, but can we just get to the point of this program?  I also am looking at my future earnings and what other types of practitioners I can work with.

Here is a list of the adult preventative care every exchange plan must cover: [from]

Free preventive services

All Marketplace plans and many other plans must cover the following list of preventive services without charging you acopayment or coinsurance. This is true even if you haven’t met your yearly deductible. This applies only when these services are delivered by a network provider.

  1. Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm one-time screening for men of specified ages who have ever smoked

  2. Alcohol Misuse screening and counseling

  3. Aspirin use to prevent cardiovascular disease for men and women of certain ages

  4. Blood Pressure screening for all adults

  5. Cholesterol screening for adults of certain ages or at higher risk

  6. Colorectal Cancer screening for adults over 50

  7. Depression screening for adults

  8. Diabetes (Type 2) screening for adults with high blood pressure

  9. Diet counseling for adults at higher risk for chronic disease

  10. HIV screening for everyone ages 15 to 65, and other ages at increased risk

  11. Immunization vaccines for adults–doses, recommended ages, and recommended populations vary:

    Obesity screening and counseling for all adults

  12. Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) prevention counseling for adults at higher risk

  13. Syphilis screening for all adults at higher risk

  14. Tobacco Use screening for all adults and cessation interventions for tobacco users

BINGO! I see diet counseling.  Great.  Helping folks lose weight has a profound effect on overall health.  I can help people, make my credit card payments and bring down the cost of healthcare.  Not a bad job.

So, I click on diet counseling.  I’m thinking they will have some Plant with heart color redsparameters about how to go about doing this such as you can have so many visits, you need to see these types of practitioners, etc.  Again, I am brought to a general “Be Healthy” page.  They will help you figure out the amount of calories you should eat, and list some foods they deem to be healthy choices.  But only doctors and nurses are listed as the people to help you with your weight problem.  Are they kidding me?  Have they ever talked to an MD about food?  How about an RN?  Seen hospital food?

I have taught the one hour of nutrition class for a physician assistant program.  My friend teaches the nutrition class for nurses.  As you can see from earlier posts [You don’t know me, but take my money anyway] my confidence in these people.

Now, I LUV nurses and doctors.  But, even though I have watched by-pass surgery and deal with food interactions with medication, I don’t slice and dice anyone and I don’t peddle meds.

Nowhere do they list a registered dietitian.  Those of you who have followed me on Twitter and Facebook know that I do not believe all RDs are the same.  On the other hand, I would trust an RD to know more about how food effects you than an MD.

But I digress . . .

You keep your milk, I'll keep mine.

You keep your milk, I’ll keep mine.

You can find a listing of dietitians by wandering around in the Find Services Near You.  Well, you’ll find ones who are members of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.  Many of them have drunk a lot of Dairy Council and Cattlemen’s Association kool-aid.  At least that is a place to start.

Nowhere do I find if or how I can help potential patients.

Here’s my other issue: What do I do as an enrollee?  Well, if you read yesterday’s post you know that the incredibly forward thinking Governor Corbett of my state, Pennsylvania, see ostrich photo, waited until the last minute to send a plan to the Obamacare people with restrictions that may be illegal.  This will push our healthcare commencement past January.  I hope it won’t, but I’m not holding my breath.  He is up for re-election in 2014.  The way his polls are going he will need the health exchanges January 2015.

How much will it cost?  I clicked on How can I estimate costs for 2

What are you waiting for?

What are you waiting for?

non-smoking adults.  The most it can cost me is around $4,000.00.  The least it can cost around $1,200.00.  My last insurance was around $350/month.  Not much change in the price, but we will see about the services.  I have to wait until Tuesday, October 1 to find out about dental and vision.  Wonder what that cost will be?  Will I be able to afford it?  I have until January to plan.

Hmm . . .

If I gain 25 pounds can I go to Myself for counseling, have Myself be very positive with I although I makes marginal gains that keep I patient with weird mdsneeding Myself for months and exchange payment for premium?

Obamacare, a win-win.