Meanwhile, Rep. Joe Barton blamed his heart problems on “eating too many chicken-fried steaks.”
“In the long run, I’d say this lifestyle could certainly be detrimental to your health,” said Rep. Kathleen Dahlkemper (D-Pa.), a freshman who previously worked as a dietitian and spoke with POLITICO by phone from the Blue Dog retreat on Tuesday. “I’m sitting here watching them bring out trays of snacks: cheeses and sweets. We just ate lunch, which was huge. And before that, we had a very big breakfast. I can’t get over how much food they put in front of us.”
…Those who worked around the clock on last year’s stimulus package and, now, on the health care bill admit to getting the majority of their meals from the Capitol vending machines.
While Speaker Nancy Pelosi moved to upgrade the food choices in the House cafeterias, the value meal in Longworth still includes a fountain drink and choices like chicken wings, burritos and popcorn chicken salad.
The focus in the obesity epidemic is often on low-income communities and their food deserts and swamps. But for many farther up the income chain, the work environment is just as toxic. It’s not just Congressional workers who indulge in vending machine lunches, pastry and candy-strewn conference room spreads and bottomless cups of soda.
I can only hope that Capitol Hill denizens realize why addressing obesity and the associated problems in the food system requires going far beyond demands of personal responsibility and virtue. They would, I imagine, agree that they eat what’s available. And if it’s junk that’s available, that’s what they eat — they don’t have a choice. And as a result that junk makes them sick.
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