U.S. Representative Steve Cohen (D-TN-09) on Tuesday paired up with U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) to file companion bills that would, if enacted into law, create a government program to combat childhood obesity.
“The Reducing Obesity in Youth Act would create a grant program to assist in the development of healthier early care and education environments to improve healthy eating and physical activity among children from birth through 5 years of age,” according to a press release that members of Cohen’s staff published on the congressman’s website this week.
Cohen said in the press release that Tennessee has one of the nation’s highest childhood obesity rates. He said the state’s childhood obesity rates have trended higher than the national average.
This is not the first time that Cohen wanted to use federal power to manage childhood nutrition issues.
Cohen announced in 2018 that the feds would force taxpayers to dole out nearly $200,000 so researchers in Memphis can analyze whether stress makes kids fat.
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases — part of the federal Department of Health and Human Services — gave the money to the University of Memphis. The formal name of the project is The Impact of Stress and Resilience on Obesity-Related Metabolic Complications in Adolescents. The grant funded research to study “the relationship between stress and resilience in youth and how it can lead to childhood obesity.”
Cohen defined resilience as how “one adapts to trauma, tragedy, and threats.”
Until at least 2014, Cohen complained that too many Tennessee’s kids were malnourished and starving and only the government could step in to fix the problem.
And, yes, Cohen distributed grant money for that.
Cohen took to the floor of the U.S. House and introduced an amendment to add $3 million to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Summer Food Service program. That program gave taxpayer-funded food to children during the summer — at a time when Cohen said they can’t get free and reduced lunches at school.
Cohen went on to say “the wealthiest nations in the world should not send its children to bed hungry.”
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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Rep. Steve Cohen” by Steve Cohen. Background Photo “U.S. Capitol” by Martin Falbisoner CC BY-SA 3.0.