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Thanks for your article “Hiding in Plain Sight” (6/16), which is probably the most worthwhile and important piece of journalism that I’ve seen in your newspaper in the past 10 years. The problem of childhood (as well as adult) obesity and bad-diet-related diseases (such as diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, etc.) is unfortunately an extremely timely one for the health of inhabitants of D.C. and beyond, particularly the poor, and it has already taken a deadly toll.

There are many resources out there—basically, a more vegetarian-oriented diet, and even moderate exercise, can make a huge difference. Farmers’ markets are available in D.C., but parents need to set an example for their children (and be assisted by the government both in obtaining accurate information and in making wholesome food affordable—i.e., food for people, not profit), and kids should be learning the importance of eating right in school. Unfortunately, what is “eating right” has become a very politicized issue, and the meat and dairy industries have a strong vested interest in keeping the truth from the public. (For further information on this subject, see Diet for a Small Planet, by Frances Moore Lappe, and Diet for a New America, by John Robbins, or contact the Vegetarian Society of D.C. or the Vegetarian Resource Group in Baltimore.)

I commend the Washington City Paper for this insightful expose of the dangers of the typical American diet. Now if you’d just stop accepting cigarette advertising, which (along with violence, alcohol, and sedentary activity) is the other half of the public health crisis in D.C.

College Park, Md.