May 30, 2006

The food police.

Are they only making kids fatter?

6 comments:

reader_iam said...

This absolutely makes sense to me. I know one has to be careful of anecdotal evidence and extrapolating personal experience. However, almost to the kid, those friends of my almost 6-year-old who are most restricted from, say, candy are inevitably the ones who not only ask for it, but also take multiple pieces and tend to stick them in pockets and whatnot. (Saddest are those who do so almost furtively: They're the ones I worry about most.) Not as invariably, but often enough to seem significant, they're also the least open to "different" foods and seem less broad in their tastes. Don't know what that's about.

Earlier this year, I found it alarming that even milk was being banned from some, I think, New York schools. As if milk-drinking has/is causing obesity in children! And how ironic in a time when, of all things, rickets has reared its head again.

I think that what this article is alluding to is exactly right: We are passing on our anxieties rather than our common sense about food, body image and so forth.

Goesh said...

I guess there is some validity to it. I remember when fiber was all the craze and rave - babies were being fed tree bark and grass clippings - it got that bad. Sodas and junk food are treats, not inalienable rights. Who in the hell is the boss in the home, parents or kids? That's the best inspirational message I can muster so far today.

Joan said...

It's nice to finally read an article in the NYT that says I'm doing something right.

Of my 3 kids, only one has a killer sweet tooth; she finishes all her Halloween or Easter basket candy well before her brothers do. My oldest, in fact, typically loses interest in it after a few days. Like his mom, he'd rather eat a few pieces of really good chocolate than whatever junk candy he collected on Halloween. Not one of them eats candy just because it's offered; they're so picky the Easter Bunny doesn't even bring jelly beans any more.

We're very big into nutrition around here, but it's not at all weird for me because I write a food column. My kids have been listening to me talk about food and eating all their lives.

One thing I will say: the article made a point of saying there are no good and bad foods. Broadly, I agree with that, but I will point out that there are good and bad ingredients. I don't bring home anything with hydrogenated oils or high fructose corn syrup. Fortunately Trader Joe's makes cookies, crackers, and pretzels that have no hydrogenated oils, but it is getting easier to find such products in the regular supermarkets, too.

Ricardo said...

Although my first inclination was laugh at the mere suggestion of a Child Nutrition Promotion and School Lunch Protection Act (give me a break, not more government in our lives), I then thought about the unbridled power which the junk food industries have in feeding the faces of our children. I know that we're already starting to "push back" against these companies, but maybe there needs to be "some kind" of legislation? Leaving this to the marketplace doesn't seem to have worked in the past.

But it's nuts to ban nuts! They're one of the healthiest categories around, when eaten in moderation. Might also help to defuse part of the epidemic of diabetes, by getting kids off the natural and artificial sweetened products.

And it's easy to be involved in good nutrition when it's readily available (I live two miles from a Whole Foods Market), but there are millions of people whose foodstore is the gasoline station down the block with it's aisles of "stuff". How do we get these people transitioned into healthy eating? Or should we? Where is the proper balance point in all this between the "needs of the state" (health care costs for chronically ill individuals) and the "rights of a citizen" (to cram their face full of junk).

Robin Goodfellow said...

What I want to know is how our public schools improved the quality of education on the basics like reading, writing, math, and science without any major stories in the press? Did I miss that memo? I mean, schools wouldn't be so irresponsible as to dedicate resources to students' diets if they hadn't already mastered the task of giving them a quality education, right?

bearbee said...

How 'bout greater emphasis on properly structured phys ed programs.........