KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Group That Once Supported Healthier School Lunch Program Has About-Face

The School Nutrition Association now says the new rules are too costly. Meanwhile, NPR looks at the difficulties for employers to deal with workers' weight problems and the increasing number of obese seniors.

The New York Times: Nutrition Group Lobbies Against Healthier School Meals It Sought, Citing Cost
When the Obama administration in 2012 announced long-awaited changes to require more fruits and vegetables and less sugar and salt in government-subsidized school meals, no group celebrated more than the School Nutrition Association. The group had anticipated the changes for three years ... Two years later, the association has done an about-face and is leading a lobbying campaign to allow schools to opt out of the very rules it helped to create, saying that the regulations that have gone into effect are "overly prescriptive" and too costly for schools that are trying to replace hamburgers and fries with healthier alternatives (Nixon, 7/1).

NPR: Targeting Overweight Workers With Wellness Programs Can Backfire
Employers say obesity is a top health concern for their workers. But health is a sensitive and personal issue. Some employees say these wellness initiatives can go too far. ... Obesity can lead to medical complications like diabetes and heart disease, and can increase absenteeism and the risk of injury on the job. Helping overweight employees nudge the scale in the other direction might be good for their health and for the company's bottom line. ... It's difficult to address obesity because wellness programs must be voluntary, says Laurel Pickering, the executive director of Northeast Business Group on Health, a nonprofit focused on reducing health care costs. Employers can offer incentives, but they can't directly talk to an employee about a weight problem. Preserving medical privacy is also a concern. And laws prohibit employer discrimination based on a person's genetic makeup (Noguchi, 7/2).

NPR: Older Adults Are Fatter Than Ever, Increasing Their Risk Of Illness
Older people are working more, voting more and drinking and smoking less than they used to. That's the good news. But nearly three-quarters of older men and about two-thirds of women over age 64 are overweight or obese, making them more likely to have to deal with diabetes, arthritis and impaired mobility (Jaffe, 7/1).

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