Nestle Op-Ed

“If we want Americans to be healthy, we are going to have to take actions like this – and many more – and do so soon. It’s long past time to tax sugar soda, crack down further on what gets sold in our schools, tackle abusive marketing practices, demand a redesign of labels – and extend the soda cap, no matter how controversial it may seem. This must be the beginning, not the end, of efforts toward a healthier America. In short, we need a series of serious changes to make the healthy choice the easy choice.”

Agreed. 100%. There are so many things that are wrong with the way we view food, and the public policy regarding it, in America these days. Marketing to children (ahem… McDonalds) , gigantic portion sizes, misleading labels, and the crap we put in public schools these days for lunch. That last issue, and the first one, of jeopardizing the health of the nation’s children to make money, really gets me. We talked about exactly this issue in the healthy places meeting we had with students, faculty and community members last week. It is ridiculous what kinds of food is being sold to children in schools for breakfast and lunch, or brought in by other parents, or used for activities in the classroom. One parent was talking about how other parents bring in rice crispies for their 10am snack in 1st grade. Rice crispies at 10am? I feel like most kids don’t even need the morning snack as it is, especially if they’ve eaten a healthy breakfast, much less one as nutritionally lacking and full of sugar as rice crispies. Another parent mentioned that her child had an activity day called a “soda slurp”, where they mixed a bunch of different types of soda together and then drank it. Needless to say, she kept her kid home from school that day. What does it say about our country and our habits that they are basically teaching kids in school that unhealthy, sugar-filled foods are what they are supposed to eat?

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