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Dietitian: More should be done

Sunday, January 30, 2011

To the Editor:

As a dietitian, I was excited to hear that the nation's largest retailer is taking action to help Americans eat healthier, but I hope the company addresses gaps in its plan.

Walmart is planning to reduce prices on produce and urging its suppliers to cut back on sodium, trans fat, and sugar in their products, but it must also work to reduce demand for meat and other high-fat foods.

Our nation's obesity epidemic reflects increased intake of meat, cheese, oils and frozen desserts, according to a recent review of food availability over the last century.

To truly fight obesity, Walmart must encourage consumers to ditch unhealthy processed meat and choose vegetables, fruits, whole grains and other plant-based foods.

Studies show that diets high in plant foods help prevent obesity, and they also help ward off heart disease, type 2 Diabetes, and some cancers.

Walmart is one of the few companies with the power to alter eating habits.

But to be successful, the company's plan must be based on the latest evidence on diet and health.

Sincerely,

Susan Levin, M.S., R.D.,

Director of Nutrition Education,

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine,

Washington, D.C.