Bush should do more to make the US healthy

In "Bush joins new war: battle of bulge" (June 20), you left out an important point: the economics of obesity. As a health-conscious American and a serious exerciser, I am constantly disheartened by the high cost of healthy food in this country.

Whole-grain breads can cost more than $3 a loaf; cereals sometimes more than $4 a box. Similar price differences between high- and low-fat dairy products, fresh fruits and vegetables, and lean meats and fish make many of these options out of reach for me, as well as for others. I refuse to eat a junk-food diet, but it is getting more and more difficult to feed myself and my family in a healthy manner.

If the president is truly serious about a healthier population, I would suggest a good hard look at the cost of high-quality food.
Emily Calkins
Beaverton, Ore.

Kids don't need vending machines in schools. However, as a retired elementary school teacher, I know that even without them, some parents send junk food and a soft drink in their child's lunch box. The education drive needs to reach those who pack the lunches, not those who eat them.

The biggest problem adults have in controlling calories is the size of the portions. There should be a campaign to get restaurants to either cut the size of the portions, or to allow adults to order "child" or half-size portions.
Lois Hohlmaier
Ocala, Fla.

Visitation can be difficult, too

I beg to differ with Tulin Acikalin (June 20, Readers Write), who said, "It is much more difficult to collect child support than it is to enforce child custody/visitation."

My daughter felt that her children's father should have custody since he had a regular job and the house. However, he refused to allow her to visit when he decided her new husband was not to his liking. She was unable to afford the attorney fees needed to force visitation and finally gave up because of the scenes caused when she visited or called.

She wasn't able to see or talk to her children for several years. When her daughter was in high school she informed her father that she wanted to have contact with her mother. My daughter is now attempting to spend precious time with her children to reestablish a loving relationship.

Despite the years of no contact she was still required to pay child support.

It's true parents should accept equal responsibility for the expenses of a growing child. But too many parents are having to spend even more money to see their children – such as travel expenses because the child moved away or attorney fees – to enable them to visit the child at reasonable times. Add to this the emotional cost when visitation plans go wrong, or when they are refused admittance or not even allowed to talk on the phone.
Dotty Davis

Human rights activism encouraged

Thank you for "A call to nations to prevent genocide" (June 20, Ideas) – a superb piece on Samantha Power, whose book should be mandatory reading for all high school and college students to instill human rights activism into the hearts and minds of our nation's citizens from early an early age.

All Americans should resolve to become human rights activists, and to become members of organizations, such as Amnesty International, whose mission it is to bring justice to forgotten causes. Perhaps then, whole nations could take Ms. Power's advice and collectively "send letters to editors and congressmen" to stop mass murderers.
Jackie Abramian
Wellesley, Mass.

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