Call to Order and Roll Call
Thesixth meeting of the Task Force on Childhood Obesity was held on Tuesday, November 15, 2011, at 10:00 a.m., in the chamber of the House of Representatives on the Third Floor of the Capitol. Representative Tom Riner, Co-Chair, called the meeting to order at 10:08 a.m., and the secretary called the roll.
Guest Legislators: Senator Joe Bowen, and Representatives John “Bam” Carney, Dwight Butler, Kim King, Terry Mills, Mike Nemes, Fred Nesler, Sannie Overly, Wilson Stone, Greg Stumbo, and Brent Yonts.
Guests: Ann Coffey, University of Louisville; Lynn Winter, Lynn’s Paradise Café; Danita Hines, Green Earth Nutrition; Susan and Carroll Williams; Susan and Taylor Readnower, and Brittney Carbajal, Health Occupation Students of America; Amanda Pile, Kentucky YMCA Alliance; Linda Harrett, Carole Bretschneider, Kathy Ackerman, Mary Curnutte, Amanda McDonley, Meg McGarry, Julie Ray, Keith Cecil, Charlie Wooldridge, and Janet Lang, Whole Foods; Elaine Russell, Department for Public Health, Cabinet for Health and Family Services; Melba Williams; Carolyn Dennis, Shaping Kentucky’s Future Collaboration; Judy Mattingly and Debbie Bell, Franklin County Health Department; Shannon Buzard; Tim Mayer, Community Farm Alliance; Wendy White, health coach; Blake Wilson, fitness instructor; Jan Gould, Kentucky Retail Federation; D. Ray Gillespie, Kentucky Beverage Association; Lisa Harris, Parent Teacher Association; Jen Alvis, Commission for Children with Special Health Care Needs; Chip Ward, Office of the Ombudsman, Cabinet for Health and Family Services; Barry Swearingen, teacher, Health and Physical Education Department, Jordan Ramirez, John Fahy, Eric Zipperle, Chris Kelly, Trevor Tierney, Marquis Smith, Cameron Hammon, Tyler Flaspoehler, Justin Osting, Edward Millay, Tanner Williams, Bayley Shoptaw, Riley Waltz, Turney Sugg, Logan Proffitt, Tyler English, Sam Richardson, Adam Schroeder, and John Paul Dyer, students, Trinity High School.
A motion to approve the minutes of the October 31, 2011 meeting was made by Representative Wuchner, seconded by Senator Pendleton, and approved by voice vote.
The China Study
T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D., Jacob Gould Schurman Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry, Cornell University, Project Director, China-Oxford-Cornell Diet and Health Project, stated that the body mass index (BMI) is used to determine if someone is overweight or obese. To determine BMI, one must take body weight, divide it by height, and multiple the total by 704.5. Sixty-three percent of adults with a BMI greater than 25 are overweight and a BMI over 30 are obese. Thirty-two percent of African-American males and thirty-nine percent of females are obese. If a child is overweight by age 8, there is a high probability the child will become an obese adult. Obesity leads to increased deaths and serious disease such as heart conditions, high blood pressure, diabetes, and others. Costs of treatment for obesity can be deducted as a medical expense. If obesity is an independent disease, there is a drug solution, but if obesity is a component of many diseases, it is a diet solution. Cutting calories is dieting, not a lifestyle change like the whole food, plant-based diet.
Optimum nutrition is best obtained by plant-based diets consisting of whole, unprocessed vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes, nuts that enhance health and prevention of a broad range of diseases. Plant-based foods are rich in nutrients. The goals are to encourage projects and programs that support whole food, plant-based nutrition, remove unhealthy snacks from school vending machines, restore recess periods in schools, offer classes on food use in elementary grades, and offer parent sessions on rationale for nutrition programs. The China Study: Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-Term Health written by Dr. Campbell details the connection between nutrition and heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease
Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., M.D., F.A.C.S., Director, Cardiovascular Prevention and Reversal Program, Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute, stated that in 2007, Dr. Lewis Kuller, University of Pittsburgh, reported all males 65 years and older, and all females 70 years of age and older, who have been exposed to the traditional western diet have cardiovascular disease and should be treated as such. A 2011 article in the New England Journal of Medicine stated that high-density lipoprotein (HDL) efflux protects against atherosclerosis, a disease in which plaque builds up inside the arteries. Arteries are blood vessels that carry oxygen-rich blood to the heart and other parts of the body. Statins, cholesterol-lowering medications, do not increase HDL efflux capacity.
A 12-year longitudinal study was conducted to document the results of the plant-based diet and its effects on coronary disease. The study concluded that 18 patients had no mortality or morbidity from the diet, and the benefits of the diet improved with time. Patients are empowered by the knowledge that they are in control of the disease that was destroying their lives.
In response to questions by students, Dr. Campbell stated that people do not need to take nutritional supplements if they eat the right foods. Dr. Esselstyn stated that every time we eat meat, even in small amounts, it injures the body.
In response to a question by Representative Wuchner, Dr. Esselstyn stated that the plant-based diet emphasizes eating more nutritional foods, not physical activity. Dr. Campbell stated that when people change to a healthier lifestyle, they have more energy and become more active.
In response to a question by Senator Kerr, Dr. Esselstyn stated that it is the caffeine in coffee that is bad, not the coffee.
In response to questions by Senator Pendleton, Dr. Esselstyn stated that eating the wrong foods even in moderation can kill someone. It is essential to teach our children good eating habits. Dr. Campbell stated that foods are addictive, but habits can be changed. People need to learn the benefits of a different, healthier lifestyle and set goals to make the changes. Representative Riner stated that we have the responsibility to be role models of good health and lifestyles that will affect longevity and productivity.
In response to questions by Representative King, Dr. Campbell stated there are different ways to measure obesity besides BMI. Children are becoming overweight and obese because over the past 30 years, they are not as active, are eating more processed foods, and are drinking more sugar-flavored drinks. Dr. Esselstyn stated that drinks with high fructose levels are really bad; therefore, people should drink more water. Eating meat is part of the coronary heart disease problem. Dr. Campbell stated that while wine is a plant-based extract, it still needs to be used in moderation. Dr. Esselstyn stated that while it is okay to drink an occasional glass of wine, people need to be careful not to drink too much alcohol because it is toxic.
There being no further business, a motion to adjourn at 12:40 p.m. was made by Senator Kerr, seconded by Senator Pendleton, and approved by voice vote.