To the Hill and Back


January 16, 2013 by locklearcr

Where to begin…

Politics has never been my “thing”. So, I was somewhat anxious and somewhat eager to see what all I could learn from the big boys on the hill. To my surprise, it wasn’t that surprising. It was like a metaphorical tug of war for power, profit, and good intentions.



 Don’t get me wrong there were certainly some positives that I took away from this experience. Probably the most inspiring notion is that the job market for us seems almost infinite, especially with the unfortunate explosion of obesity, diabetes, and other health care issues. We were strongly encouraged to carve our own paths and “create the position” if we in fact see a need – a clear illustration that the field of nutrition and dietetics is growing at a rapid pace. The demand and appreciation for our profession is on the rise, which will more than likely prove beneficial for us as financially strapped graduates. We are on the radar people!

Another plus in my opinion is that everyone we heard from had a clear passion for what they do. They are all continuing to move forward and (for the most part) do what they think is best as they navigate through the laws, politics, and opposing parties. They were all very knowledgeable about his/her given professions, while being able to share the floor and allow others to speak when the topic became less familiar.

However, there were many things that made my stomach churn a bit when they were brought up. Like the fact that the FDA’s standard serving sizes will increase because we eat more- um, what? It seems like that will be making the over consumption of donuts and under consumption of broccoli the “norm”; not cool in my book.

Also, I’m just not sure that things are going in the right direction in terms of school lunch. I’ll admit, I completely agree with taking out nutritionally worthless food like SSB’s and candy bars, since those should not be readily available to children. Those “treats” should be associated more with special occasions, not during the break between math and social studies. On the other end, with the SLP, it doesn’t sit well with me that there are calorie limits. That’s just weird. I have young nephews that are normal weight for their age (if not more on the slender side) and they’ve complained about being hungry at school because everything is devoid of satiating fat and is replaced with low fat carbs. 


Some more ‘food’ for thought: if the children were eating real, whole foods, would they REALLY overeat? Sure, inhaling a Lil’ Debbie cake is easy because it requires almost no chewing and leaves you craving more, but I find it hard to believe that kids could lose their ability to self-regulate eating some meat and vegetables.


After this trip, I’m still left with some lingering questions that I feel are overlooked by many:

First, when did we lose the ability to make choices for ourselves, and control what we eat?

Has it comes this far that laws have to be implemented to stop us?

If we’re all about fruits and veggies, where are the over-stimulated ads, brightly colored labels/signs? Why are we not pimping those out?

What are the long-term implications of promoting processed wheat products and watered-down milk? Micronutrient deficiencies anyone?

What message are we sending by labeling obsessively and promoting restriction? 

Where is the science? The evidence? The research? Where is it really coming from and when was the last time anyone took a good look at it? 



3 thoughts on “To the Hill and Back

  1. kevintmiller says:

    I love those questions you put at the end of your post. If we could answer those, I think that would be some significant progress.

  2. Elizabeth says:

    Courtney – great overview, and now you’re learning more and more about the wonderful world of politics 🙂

    Me being the pro-regulation person that I am, think that all the new school guidelines are great. With the work that I’ve done, I have yet to see more than a few schools that are going over the calorie budget, I tend to see them too LOW because kids simply aren’t eating that much. The healthy changes were much needed, but it’s going to take at least a year before many schools have the knowledge and resources to really make the most from it.

    And do we need regulations to keep us from overeating? Yes, I think so. With the way our obesogenic environment is set up, the default is for us to overeat unhealthy foods. Regulations don’t have to be on the individual person, they can be on the industry, community zoning, etc, but I do think they’re needed. You and Kari are welcome to debate me 🙂 haha

  3. afrazzini says:

    Hi Courtney! I agree with Kevin, great questions. In response to the first two…I’m not sure when I lost my ability to pass chocolate at the check-out line without buying a few pieces for the road, but if someone passed a law banning candies at the register, I would be hugely grateful.

    I think I’m with you on the labeling though. To me, it seems like it’s just an extension of the personal responsibility argument that has failed us for too long. Consumers have to know how to add this, and interpret that….well guess what, 20+ years after the first nutrition labeling act, most people still don’t know what a calorie is. And those who do are often far too concerned about it. If we have to fight against the powerful marketing tactics of junk food manufacturers, shouldn’t we be trying to use equally effective marketing weapons? Unfortunately, their marketing is generally funded by their profits, and healthy foods typically just aren’t as profitable. That’s a whole ‘nother issue.

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