While there is no arguing that obesity in american kids continues to grow at epidemic levels, there is plenty of arguments regarding the approaches that first Santa Clara, then San Francisco, and now Nebraska, are taking to try to control this problem.
In a bill heard today Tuesday by Nebraska legislative committee, children would no longer find toys packed in what they consider to be “high-fat, high-calorie” kids’ meals.
This measure proposed by Senator Bill Avery of Lincoln would prohibit toy giveaways in children’s meals that contain more than 500 calories (400 if breakfast meals). Meals that contain more than 640 milligrams of sodium must contain at least one cup of fruit or non-fried vegetables. When this measure was presented, it was noted that 31 percent of Nebraska children are obese. According to senator Avery, this is supposedly costing Nebraska millions of dollars in health care.
Avery should perhaps spend his efforts in building programs that support exercise and promote active lifestyles. In the 2006-2007 school year, there was a policy in place that was supposed to institute in the Nebraska school districts, among others, the following:
- Nutrition Education
- Physical Activity
- Other school based activities to promote wellness
- Community involvement
So what exactly happened here? Where did all this thousands of dollars go Senator Avery? Certainly the obese kids of Nebraska did not eat them. These are the sort of initiatives that bring results (of course, if fully implemented and if there is a person or group of persons held accountable for them), not the banning of entertainment and limiting income for local businesses (which in turn, will diminish the income to the state generated by taxpaying restaurant businesses). If senator Avery is concerned about the dollars that kids meals are costing the state of Nebraska then he should look at initiatives similar to “Team Nutrition” to support healthier school meals AND, make sure they are fully implemented.
This program brought together public and private partnerships, destined to teach children about the importance of making healthy choices, and to help professionals in the school food service industry with tools and skills to deliver healthier meals. One of the partners in this partnership was the Walt Disney Company and another one was Scholastic, Inc. - both delivered age-appropriate nutrition information to children in schools and to their parents at home.
Both of these corporations are constantly partnering up with restaurant chains and just like many others in the business, have children’s health, habits and overall well-being in mind. So now Avery decides to push them away with these ridiculous initiatives that only seek to put him in the press, gain television coverage and further stir the pot. Stop blaming others and begin accepting responsibility - that is HOW you solve the problem.