Posts Tagged ‘childhood obesity’
Parents, Donât Blame Happy Meals By Roland S. Martin
Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010
CNN) — As a strong proponent of parental responsibility, it both amuses and angers me to see some parents lining up behind an initiative to sue McDonald’s over the inclusion of toys in their Happy Meals.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest is leading the charge in this case, pushing the state of California to ban the toys, suggesting that the toys in Happy Meals are inducing children to eat burgers and fries, thus contributing to the obesity epidemic in America.
As I asserted a few weeks ago in myÂ column supporting First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move initiative, I fully back efforts to end obesity among our children. But at what point do some folks use common sense?
For example, in a story in the Chicago Tribune, parent Monet Parham said her 6-year-old daughter was so enamored with toys offered in partnership with the movie, “Shrek Forever After,” she pestered her mom to collect every toy. That would mean going to McDonald’s every week, since the promotion was a giveaway each week. And that’s not something Parham wanted.
So instead of being a parent and telling her child, “no,” Parham decided to become a plaintiff in the lawsuit. Instead being the grownup and not giving in to the demands of a 6-year-old, Parham thought it made more sense to sue McDonald’s to make her job as a parent easier.
I’ve long maintained that the problem today isn’t children or the world changing. It’s punk parents changing. Yes, I know that’s a strong phrase, but when a parent can’t control a 6-year-old, then we have some issues.
Do I have any biological children? Nope. But my wife and I at different times have raised six of my nieces. And when they lived in our home, we would take them to McDonald’s for a Happy Meal. And when we went, instead of fries, we would order them apples. Instead of a soda, we would get apple juice or milk. Yes, it was that simple. All we did was ask for the healthier options on the menu, and the girls were happy with their Happy Meals.
Why is this so hard?
There is a fundamental role government can play when it comes to nutrition. Going after the cigarette makers who enticed children with cartoon characters to smoke? Good. Limiting trans fats in cooking? No problem here if it makes us healthier. But this is ridiculous.
What we desperately need today are real parents. Parents who understand that it is not their job to be friends with their children but be parents. Parents who get that having a disappointed child who doesn’t get his or her way all the time isn’t a bad thing. Parents who will give their child the right look when the child begins to act a fool and throw a tantrum.
I am not one of these adults who subscribe to the notion that no one can tell them what to do and they can do it all. For instance, I support sex education in schools and don’t believe that we should leave that up to the parents. It’s called education for a reason!
Count me as a major supporter of schools changing their menus to have healthier eating options. And I’m also down with school uniforms. The heck with the peer pressure of the haves and have nots based on designer clothes. None of these prevent parents from doing what they want to do with their children. It’s all about focusing on the broader needs of the child.
What has to be understood is that a lawsuit isn’t the answer to everything. And if we want our children to be healthier, banning a toy will do nothing to make that happen. Push McDonald’s to make healthy options more visible on the menu.
I love the idea of having calorie counts on foods. It has changed my mind on many occasions as to what to buy in a fast food restaurant. Push fast food joints to have a health menu option by adding a salad, fruit and/or water instead of fries and a fountain drink. All of these make sense.
Trying to ban a toy because a parent can’t tell their child no is ludicrous.
My nieces and nephews know full well that when it comes to who is in control, Uncle Ro Ro doesn’t play around. I’m not their friend or buddy; I’m their uncle. What I say goes. I don’t negotiate. I don’t consult. I don’t give in. I make it clear: my money, my rules. As my dad told me, “When you’re grown enough to pay all of your bills, you can make the call.”
If a niece or nephew wants to go to McDonald’s every week for a month just to get a toy, and the deal is we only go once a month, here is the option: “We go once a month or not at all. Your call.”
Trust me, even the biggest child pest has enough sense to figure out that once a month is the better option.
Parents, buck up and be the adult in the family, and stop blaming everything on an outside agency or corporation. Maybe McDonald’s should think of suing sorry parents for not doing their job.
Now that’s a lawsuit I’m willing to support.
Dr. Oz Visits U.S. High Schools to Launch HealthCorps Program to Fight Childhood Obesity
Monday, October 25th, 2010
Dr. Mehmet Oz is taking initiative and traveling around the United States to launch his HealthCorps program and promote health through nutrition and exercise. Dr. Oz is currently trying to launch his HealthCorps program in Sacramento to fight childhood obesity.
According to an article from allvoices.com, The HealthCorps is being initiated locally at Burbank High and Sacramento Charter High School. The program is modeled after the Peace Corps. It is designed to recruit college graduates who have deferred medical school enrollment to coordinate HealthCorps for two years at a high school. The program at Sacramento’s Luther Burbank High School is being run by Chioma Enweasor, a graduate of Pomona College. She will teach 10 classes a week as well as operate an after-school club and oversee health-related events.
Mar Asks For Two-Week Continuance On October 19th's Scheduled Vote On Controversial Toy Ban Legislation
Tuesday, October 19th, 2010
In a new sfgate.com blog post, Rachel Gordon discusses the recent events surrounding the San Fransisco Toy ban, that if passed, would take away any fast food marketing promotions in kids meals.Â According to recent reports, supervisor and creator of the controversial toy ban legislation has asked for a two-week continuance in hopes to secure a veto-proof majority.
According toÂ Rachel Gordon, Mar asked that the vote be delayed until Nov. 2, Election Day, which might be nice for Mayor Gavin Newsom, who is in a tough race for lieutenant governor.Â Newsom’s Republican opponent, Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado, has attacked Newsom for being ”chief of the food police,” referring to the mayor’s earlier efforts to curb high-sugar sodas and to promote the slow-food movement.
The City of Alexandria, Virginia Seeks to Obtain $90,000 to Help Fight Childhood Obesity
Wednesday, October 13th, 2010
The City of Alexandria, Virginia is trying to secure $90,000 to help fight childhood obesity. Officials said they would use the money to make minor upgrades to playground equipment and to encourage urban gardening. However, the new play areas that the cityâs parents said are needed to help their children slim down will have to wait, according to an article in the Washington Examiner.
According to the article, the city has applied to Kaiser Permanente for the funding and intends to use the money to hire a consultant to assess the cityâs playgrounds. Additionally, the money will go toward the Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority to promote urban gardening. About 43 percent of Alexandria children between the ages of 2 and 5 are either overweight or obese, according to an Inova Health Systems study. About 25 percent of all Virginia residents are considered obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“There’s this potential that the next generation could actually have a shorter life span than the current generations that are older, and that would be a first in human history,” said Dr. Stephen Haering, Alexandria’s health director.
San Francisco Board of Supervisors to Extend Toy Ban Legislation to Include Fast Food Breakfast Items Marketed To Adults
Tuesday, October 12th, 2010
According to the Nanny State Liberation Front, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors is Â not only going after kids meals, but certain breakfast items marketed to adults as well. The article states that a Sept. 27 amendment was added to the cityâs proposed Happy Meal Toy Ban ordinance. âA new category of items â breakfast items â are required to contain 0.5 cups of fruit.” Additionally, the amendment demands that the hamburger buns or other sandwich breads used in the meals must contain at least 50 percent whole wheat.
One has to wonder what the reason is for including restrictions on the breakfast meal breads seeing that adult customers do not purchase fast-food breakfast meals because of toy incentives.
Restaurants Should Not Take All The Blame â Education Needs To Be A Priority For Childhood Obesity
Wednesday, September 15th, 2010
An article onÂ thestir.cafemom.com sharedÂ opinionsÂ aboutÂ the recentÂ activitiesÂ surrounding Childhood Obesity Awareness Month.
Kim Conte,Â explained that whileÂ restaurantsÂ do have a responsibility to keep people healthy, they are not the main source of blame. Â Americanâs need to be better educated onÂ nutritionÂ and the negative effects of overeating.
“I agree that restaurants do have a responsibility to help in the effort to reduce obesity rates and get Americans eating healthier â after all, one-third of all meals today are eaten outside the home.Â But this call to arms â whether itâs coming from Obama or the PCRM â needs to be in tandem with public education on how people also share in the responsibility of making healthy food choices for themselves and their families.â
Conteâs opinion comes from aÂ newly releasedÂ video created byÂ theÂ Physicians Committee for Responsible MedicineÂ and Michelle Obamaâs speech toÂ restaurantÂ owners,Â urging them to offerÂ healthierÂ options on menus.
Yahoo! Finance Posts ObesitySolvers.com Press Release: Cutler Responds to Federal Trade Commissionâs 48 Subpoenas Issued to Companies Marketing Food to Children & Adolescents
Wednesday, September 15th, 2010
A recent press release from obesitysolvers.com which highlighted Bob Cutlerâs responseÂ to the Federal Trade Commissionâs 48 subpoenas issued to companies marketing food to children and adolescents was posted by Yahoo! Finance.
According to the press release, Bob Cutler, CEO of Creative Consumer Concepts (C3), said that the federal government should not be able to limit the rights of advertisers, consumers or anyone who wants to choose what they want to eat.
“The U.S. government is marching again to restrict our rights. These subpoenas are a sure way for the government to restrict advertisers. The result of this effort will undoubtedly be government intervention and potential regulation,” Cutler said.
First Lady Asks Restaurant Owners to Promote Healthy Menu Options for Childhood Obesity Awareness Month September 2010
Monday, September 13th, 2010
OnÂ The Hill: The Washington Scene, a new articleÂ reported that First lady Michelle Obama urged restaurant owners to re-think their menus in a speech to the National Restaurant Association in Washington D.C.
âYouâre responsible for one-third of the calories our kids get on a daily basis,â she said. âThe choices you make determine whatâs listed on the menus, whatâs advertised on billboards and whatâs served on our plates.â
The First Lady suggested owners offer a wider variety of healthier choices, as part of her âLetâsÂ Move!â campaign, as well as offering examples of how restaurants can promote healthier choices by small recipe changes.
NannyStateLiberationFront.net Reports U.S. Medical JournalSays: Obesity âCrisisâ Is Fattening Big Government
Friday, September 10th, 2010
According to a recent blog post from www.nannystateliberationfront.net, a new report appearing in an American medical journal says the federal government is exploiting the nationâs obesity âcrisisâ to âextract more money from taxpayers and to expand government.â
âThe articleâs authors note that nanny state bureaucrats have already failed in their attempts to meet self-imposed goals for reducing obesity, perhaps, because they are targeting food sources that pose no proven risk to Americansâ waistlines.
Michael L. Marlow, Ph.D. and Alden F. Shiers, Ph.D., both economists at California Polytechnic State University, write in theÂ Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons that the federal government has erred in its decision to use âsin taxesâ as its weapon of choice to win the war on obesity. The primary target of these sin taxes is sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB), despite empirical studies that do not show a clear, if at all existent, link between SSBs and obesity, the authors state:
âIt is sheer folly to single out a specific food or beverage as the âcause of obesityâ when common sense indicates that obesity is a product of genetics, hormones, food choice, exercise or lack thereof, and the basic equation: Calories consumed minus calories expended = weight gain or weight loss. If one eliminates soda pop from his diet, while consuming 10,000 calories per day and expending 1,000 calories per day in exercise, that individual will gain weight. Moreover, if government interventions somehow reduce soda consumption, it is likely that substitution will take place, such as eating more food or simply adding more sugar to home-brewed iced tea. Effects on weight are thus ambiguous at best.ââ
The University of Minnesota receives $7 million Federal Grant to Create a Chilhood Obesity Center
Friday, September 10th, 2010
According to an article from startribune.com, The University of Minnesota recentlyÂ receivedÂ a$7 million federal grant to create a childhood obesity center in an effort to transform the exercise and eating habits of Minnesota families.
“Researchers will use the grant, announced Thursday, to connect families with health advocates in medical clinics, enroll them in classes about healthy foods and active lifestyles, and improve their access to healthful foods and recreation opportunities.
While U researchers have tried these approaches individually, they’ve never wrapped them all around families at once. The goal is to address the multiple social factors that can lead to obesity: lack of access to parks and walking trails, poor food options in low-income neighborhoods and excessive amounts of television and screen time.
These and other influences have fueled a startling increase in American obesity in the past three decades, as well as related health problems such as diabetes, heart disease and even preterm births. The share of children ages 12 to 19 who are overweight has tripled in the United States since 1980. The last survey of Minnesota high school seniors in 2007 found 13 percent of males and 5 percent of females were overweight. Two out of every three Minnesotans are now overweight or obese.”