Healthy Decisions

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A letter in the December 2, 2005 Washington Times by American Heart Association's Aaron Tallent reacts to a column by ACSH's Dr. Whelan:

Dr. Elizabeth Whelan made many strong points in her Monday Commentary column, "Fast food tells all," regarding the decision of McDonald's to print nutritional information about its products on the wrappers.

Eating unhealthy foods is a consumer's decision, but it should be an informed decision. McDonald's should be commended for choosing to disclose the nutritional facts of its Big Macs, french fries, etc. Hopefully, other restaurants will follow the lead of McDonald's.

Yet more needs to be done. Not all restaurants will voluntarily disclose the contents of their products. Plus, nutritional labeling is only part of the across-the-board effort needed to curb our nation's skyrocketing obesity. Our schools must provide healthy foods and strong fitness programs. Our cities and towns must implement greater obesity-prevention plans. And each individual American must take responsibility for his or her own health - making wise decisions about diet and exercise.

With that being said, it is uplifting to see that more and more Americans and businesses are starting to realize the full ramifications of our nation's burgeoning obesity problem. The fact that our largest fast-food chain is one of them can only give us hope.

AARON TALLENT
Director of public advocacy
Greater Washington region
American Heart Association
Washington