T Nation

Childhood Obeisity

We are hearing about the rising epidemic of childhood obesity more and more these days. What really pisses me off is the contracts the school districts are signing to market junk food and soda to the kids, they are preparing them for a life time of obesity. A school district memo was written in Colorado advising the school staff that they were falling short of their quota of coke products and encouraging the teachers to let the kids have coke in class and move the machines where the kids could get to them quicker in the five mins in between classes. I have a serious problem with school officials selling my child’s health when it is hard enought to teach a child healthy eating habits.

Yes, so true. The kids really are being used and abused in the schools as far as physical fitness and bad food goes. At the elementary school level in my province (Ontario) most schools do not have cafeterias or even vending machines, so the kids have to bring food from home for lunch. However, they do have hot dog and pizza days once or twice a month–the accompaniments to those high fat foods are pop and donuts. Ah! On top of that, gym is often the subject that gets postponed if a teacher is behind in math or science or some other subject. It’s considered less important.
At the high school level, things get really bad. The cafeterias rarely offer nutritious foods–french fries being the biggest seller. Vending machines supply copious amounts of pop and chips and chocolate bars, which these kids consume for BREAKFAST of all things! Again, here, the students only NEED to take one phys ed course in their entire high school career to get their graduation diplomas. So—most of them drop it after ninth grade–at least most of the girls do anyways.
But, it doesn’t stop at the school level. The kinds of things parents give their kids to bring for lunches are pretty bad too. Someone here suggested putting on a higher tax on high fat snack foods, kind of like they do on gas, tobacco or alcohol. I think that would be a great place to start!

Whoever wrote that memo should be fired.

I’m athletic and a artist - and it’s usually either PE/Gym or the Arts that gets shafted during budget cuts. It’s sad really.

But, I ask - what can WE do? What solutions can we find for this issue? I work in a University and I see overweight/out of shape college students EVERYWHERE. And it ain't Coke products here, but Pepsi. Thank god, I don't drink soda. However, just walk through the shopping malls, you'll see "herds" of overweight families everywhere. I wonder, do the parents of these kids in Colorado care?

I can’t remember where I heard this, nor can I remember the exact figure, but kids today get a majority of their calories from soft drinks. The rest come from the crap foods that their parents and school feed them. It always cracks me up when schools try to defend their "healthy and nutritious " school lunch programs. That food is garbage, i would’nt feed it to my dog.

Ketchup is a vegetable, according to the New York Education Dept. How’s that for nutrition?

Those dumbasses. It’s a fruit. Jezzus.

I found one number, 20% of calories are coming from sodas. This number was based on kids who drank 1-2 cans of pop a day. I bet its higher amoung teens who are buying the big 32 oz sodas. There appears to be a direct correlation between soda consumption and obesity. Drinking 1-2 cans of soda a day lead to a 60% increase in the rate of obesity. Another effect is that milk consumption decreases which leads to calcium deficiencies in female teens.

Today I had a Administrative Briefing to go to (these things are like 3hours long, too). I sat at a table with five other Office Coordinators from other departments on campus. Every single one of them were either fat and had two/three chins. AND they were all downing big vats of Diet Pepsi. I was drinking coffee and munching on two cookies ( tasty, too). Their topic of conversation before the meeting began was how they were going to have one “bite” of a cookie - god forbid they eat all that fat! Then they’d inhale some of their soda.

Mind you, these women are the mothers of some kid in the public school system. I am seriously stating right here, right now: My kids (if I am ever to bring into this world a child), will never, ever drink soda. I don't, why should my kids? Soda has absolutely no nutritional value. Now, if we're talkin' beer....kidding.....

Ha ha Patricia–they will find the beer on their own when they hit their teens! I’ve stopped drinking pop too, and our supply at home has dwindled. I’m lucky, though, my kids are active and thin. My husband still likes to mix pop with his drinks now and then, but I’ve always prefered vodka with o.j. or wine or beer.
Kids are great. You should definitely have some. They put a whole new perspective on life.

Well, we’ve got four parrots - and they’re a good way to get you ready for kids. Cuz, these guys are our kids. They’re loved dearly -but man, they’re a handful!

Hmmm, vodka. Okay - back to the issue at hand. I ask again -because this ain't the first time I've heard about a school district doing this. And I know it won't be the last. Solutions? I just hate complaining about something and then not try to figure out "something" to get some ball bouncing in a good direction. Do we want these kids to become future members of NAAFA? How do you wake their parents up to change?

the US public health have been trying to get people to do stuff and eat less for years, nobody listens. Its probbly the most frustrating part of public health, nobody gives a shit. They would rather sit on their arses and eat McDonalds. America is only going to get fatter and fatter.

When I was in middle school, they had the regular lunch line, and they had the “a la cart” line. A la cart had sticky buns, sodas, candy, etc. 1.50 bought you a sticky bun or coffee cake and a soda, so that's what I started buying (I have a major sweet tooth). Taking an additional .25 from my own pocket got me even more. I put on a huge amount of weight until I realized how horribly I was eating, and asked my friends to take food away from me if I bought it at the a la cart line. The thing is, they had no business selling those things there in the first place.

How about the abundance of soy products in all of the childrens cafeteria food? They use soy as a filler in a lot of things because it is a “healthy” source of protein. (I would assume it cuts down on cost as well) Clinton had a Drug “czar” and a war on drugs, how about a war on obesity in our nation, and Berardi can be the Nutrition Czar?

You guys probably have no idea how much soda kids drink today. I’m 24, and when I was a teenager, it wasn’t uncommon for me and my friends to guzzle over a 12 pack a day each. I still have some teenage friends, and they’re the same way. Some of them brag about how much they can drink. Hell, one of them drank a case of Pepsi and 4 Super Big Gulps in one day. (shudder) I saw the light a years ago and rarely drink soda at all. In the past year, I’ve had 3 sodas. I figure one every few months won’t kill me.