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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

New Dietary Guidelines and the Opposition

Listened to this and it was quite good if you are interested in food and nutrition issues:

Apparently, they are better than before, but need a little more help. The experts don't like the term "solid fat". And who can blame them? But they like the recommendation about filling half your plate with fruits and veggies. There is still some disagreement as to whether the meat and dairy industries are influencing these guidelines... Interesting stuff. Also, they go into the current administration's efforts and focus on health and obesity.

I like the focus the First Lady has taken on obesity. The President himself has signed school nutrition legislation. New York I believe is trying to get permission to try out a tax on soda.

A lot of people are against taking vending machines out of school and passing laws against soda and other healthy legislation like that. I have to wonder if they are just against Obama, against "government in our lives" (code for anti-Obama or die hard Republican), or against health. "You should teach your kid to eat right." "It's not the state's job to choose healthy food." "Don't limit my choices." I personally don't think elementary and even middle schoolers are ready to make those decisions without a parent in most cases. Do we tell kids it doesn't matter if you hang out with the wrong crowd or dangle drugs and alcohol in front of them if we want to encourage them to make good choices and stay away from these things?? Why is food a different matter?

Another opinion I have is that above all places, schools and hospitals should be the places where only healthy stuff is offered. Often far from reality, but in a perfect world...

Above, I just listed some opposition off the top of my head I've heard in response to Obama's efforts, the soda tax, the proposed vending machine bans, campaigns for healthier school lunches, etc. Here is is in print.

Some of the opposition to vending machine school bans is just lame. More education? Really? Tell them to eat their veggies, then dangle sweets and sugary drinks in front of them at every turn? Is that how you get kids to stay off of drugs?

  • It is not up to the schools to determine the eating habits of children or teachers. These decisions should be made by those individuals themselves.
  • The revenues from these vending machines are used to pay for a range of school expenses, from football team uniforms to band trips. Machines serving healthful alternatives are not likely to generate the same amount of income.
  • In banning these machines, the schools are sending a message that some foods are "bad". People should be able to make those determinations themselves and to gain an understanding that most foods are acceptable in moderation. Rather than banning the machines, the schools should provide more education on healthy nutrition and the benefits of exercise.
  • Banning these foods on campus will cause many students to leave the school campus during the day in search of their preferred snacks. This will create additional safety concerns and cause potential increases in tardiness.

Shame on us. How dare we vilify a food. Don't call Cokes "bad" or candy bars empty calories. Really?

Face it. Some food is in fact bad or bad for you.

And the last one on the list? I thought that was called skipping school and kids got punished for that. If schools are respected as a soda and junk free zone and if parents helped reinforce this instead of talking junk about the President, government, etc for not allowing us the "freedom" to be fat and lazy in every sphere of life, perhaps kids would catch on as well. Just a thought. And when you go home from school, you can have your sweets in moderation. No one's banning all sweets. Why is it such a big deal that your kid can't access every possible choice of junk at any given time? People seem to be dealing with the peanut butter ban for health reasons just fine. Why not get rid of junk food for health reasons? People seem way more concerned that you might not be able to access junk food at every hour of the day than any aspect of their children's education (of which there's plenty to be concerned about).

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