Yesterday my Wife got off early and planned to surprise our daughter by picking her up from school. Upon doing so one of her teachers says to my Wife that there was an issue and immediately my Wife got that sinking feeling in her gut thinking of our Child's well being. My Wife worriedly asked "what happened" and the teacher replied that "our daughter had declined having Dunkin Donuts saying "that they are bad for you" the teacher also said "that our child was totally fine and unfazed by her choice of not having any Dunkin Donuts." It seems that the teacher is the one that had the problem with our daughter politely and honestly telling the truth. It was the perfect opportunity to praise our child and her student as to how amazing she is for making healthy choices. Our wonderful 7 yr old daughter is not deprived of the occasional treat and she knows that there are healthier choices for her that are preservative free and/or use organic ingredients Yet our lil' darling still remains happy, sweet, smart and unfazed.
We would never dare to tell others how to live their lives or judge them as we just want the best for our child. This extends well past her childhood as we do not want our daughter to have health problems as an adult due our carelessness during her adolescent years.
The school has sent home flyers regarding a support group for obese children and their families. So why is our daughter's teacher trying to make us feel like freaks just for being a health conscious family, wassup with that?
New york public schools should follow the example of school here and abroad that have a no sugar policy even in lunch brought from home. School should encourage a healthy mind and body attitude.
Some Michigan schools even ban cupcakes to fight obesity via Detroit News(yahoo news):
Ryan Thompson celebrated his seventh birthday last year with homemade cupcakes that he handed out to his classmates in Alma.
But when he turns 8 on Nov. 25, he won't be able to pass out the sweet treats since food is no longer allowed to be part of school celebrations.
Ryan's principal realizes the ban sounds harsh, but it's part of a broader Michigan project to combat childhood obesity, which has tripled nationally since 1980.
Instead of the cupcakes, Alma district students celebrating birthdays now get an extra 30 minutes in gym class — policies that could be coming soon to all Michigan schools.
"If you look at the fact we have 350 boys and girls in our school and 180 days of school, that means we have two students every day who are wandering around every day passing out cupcakes and snacks," said Tom Neuenfeldt , principal of Alma's Hillcrest Elementary School, about 50 miles north of Lansing.
Alma joins districts in Bellaire and Roscommon in getting $40,000 in federal stimulus funds to pilot Michigan
nutrition standards to fight childhood obesity, an epidemic linked to 20 chronic diseases
Sugar Ban in School
Yields Positive Results via CNN/Education World:
Ten years ago, Dr. Yvonne Sanders-Butler, the principal of Browns Mill Elementary School in Lithonia, Georgia, banned sugar in the school. Her motivation was both personal and professional.
“I nearly lost my life to a stroke 13 years ago,” said Sanders-Butler. “It was the result of a lifetime of loving sugar and overeating.
“After that, I made a lifetime change and lost 60 pounds. It wasn’t about dieting, it was about maintaining a healthy lifestyle.“When I became principal here,” she continued, “I knew I had a responsibility to change the way my kids were eating. I believed poor nutrition impacted their academic performance and their behavior, and I knew good nutrition could improve those things.
”The results of the school-wide ban on sugar were dramatic. “In the first month of the ban, we noticed inappropriate behavior had dropped and students were more on-task,” Sanders-Butler said. “We had a 23 percent drop in discipline referrals. Teachers could do their job of teaching the students.” Counseling referrals for students having trouble getting along with other students also decreased.
Students’ reading scores improved by 15 percent, and Sanders-Butler believes the ban on sugar helped students better concentrate on their schoolwork.
TAKE AWAY THE SUGAR… ADD EXERCISE
Along with banning sugar, Sanders-Butler instituted a program in which students get 60 minutes a day of physical activity. And the school also provides a morning and afternoon fitness program for teachers. All teachers participate in a regular exercise program at least three or four times per week, but they can choose which form of exercise they prefer to do. There are structured a.m. and p.m. training sessions led by a fitness instructor at the school, so teachers have the option to participate in either of those. Teachers who prefer to work out independently can sign up to use treadmills or a step machine in the school gym. There are also walking teams for teachers, and some teachers exercise outside of school at gyms like Bally’s or in programs like Curves.
“All teachers participate in some part of our wellness program,” Sanders-Butler said. “Teachers feel good about exercising because it makes them more fit, so you don’t have to press them to participate. It’s just a part of our school’s culture.
“When teachers feel good, they expend their energy in positive ways, working effectively with their students.”
3 Food Additives that are Taking Years Off Your Life via New England Health Advisory By Inger Pols:
I recently had dinner with a friend who is fit, active, healthy and tries to eat well; he’s doing everything right. We got to talking about food labels and marketing claims. He told me that he reads the labels and that he thinks he’s making good healthy food choices.
It soon became apparent that he was reading the product claims on the front labels and occasionally, the nutrition facts label, but not the list of ingredients. I challenged him to read the ingredient list on the foods in his cabinets. We pulled out the first item handy, Progresso Bread Crumbs, and I showed him the high fructose corn syrup and trans fats in the ingredient list.
We discovered 95% of the food in his house contained at least one, sometimes two or even all three, of the most harmful food additives: high fructose corn syrup, trans fats and MSG. It was a challenge to find anything in a box, bag, plastic bottle or jar that did not have one of these unhealthy additives.
Eating whole unprocessed foods is best, so I always recommend you stick to the outside aisles of the supermarket and avoid packaged and processed food. But for many of us, it is simply not possible to avoid all processed foods. When you must buy prepared foods, how can you make the best choices?
While it’s easy to believe food manufacturers’ marketing claims, the only way to know if you’re making good food choices and know exactly what you are really eating is to read the ingredient list. Avoiding harmful additives could add years to your life.
Trans Fats or Partially Hydrogenated Oil
New York City made headlines when it banned all trans fats from foods. California then became the first state to do so. Many European countries have done the same, or passed legislation for future elimination. What is it about trans fats that is so concerning? What led the National Academy of Science to say there is no safe level of trans fat consumption and to call for a full ban of its use at the city, state and country level?
Trans fats are made when a hydrogen atom is added to unsaturated fat. During this process, hydrogen gas bubbles through the oil in the presence of a nickel catalyst. Originally just an interesting science experiment, the result became attractive to food manufacturers looking to increase profits. Trans fats don’t spoil as readily as other oils, they don’t break down when heated repeatedly, and they can turn a liquid oil into a solid, which makes transport easier, and offer a cheaper substitute to solid animal fat.
The fast food industry saw the appeal, and almost every major chain found a use: Dunkin Donuts used them to fry donuts and McDonald’s used them to fry its french fries. (They and most others have recently eliminated trans fats due to public pressure). Margarine, baked and snack goods benefited from increasing concern over the use of butter and lard several decades ago and the desire to shift to a vegetable-based oil product. But as trans fat consumption increased radically, researchers grew concerned about its effect on health.
Awareness of the harm of trans fats began in the 1990s, though a study done in the U.K. as far back as 1981 raised some questions. In 1993, Harvard concluded that the intake of partially hydrogenated oils increased the likelihood of a heart attack. That study suggested that replacing just 2% of energy from trans fats with healthy unsaturated fats could reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by a third.
In 1999, a joint study by Harvard School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital reported that “at least 30,000 and as many as 100,000 cardiac deaths a year in the United States could be prevented if people replaced trans fats with healthier non-hydrogenated” oils. The New England Journal of Medicine reported that same year that trans fats are directly linked to the development of diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Today we know that trans fats increase LDL, the low-density lipoproteins, especially the smaller denser particles that we now know are more damaging to the arteries. At the same time, they reduce HDL, the high-density lipoproteins that are responsible for taking bad cholesterol and waste that needs to be returned to the liver for processing and disposal. (For more detail, see our recent article on cholesterol.) They also create inflammation, which has been shown to lead to heart disease, stroke, diabetes and many other chronic conditions. Trans fats have also been linked to obesity and insulin resistance as well as Alzheimer’s disease.
At one point, the FDA estimated 95% of prepared cookies, 100% of crackers and 80% of frozen breakfast products contained trans fats. They have also said that the average American consumes 5.8 grams of trans fats a day. While some companies are shifting their manufacturing processes, the majority of foods still contain some amount of trans fat. (It breaks my heart every year when the Girl Scouts come calling because I’d love to support their cause, but their cookies all include trans fats, so typically, I make a donation and tell them to keep the cookies.)
When you eat at bakeries, restaurants, schools and cafeterias there is no way to monitor trans fat presence, so it’s likely that you’re consuming them. Trans fats do occur naturally in some meat and dairy products, so it’s hard to avoid them completely.
The American Heart Association recommends that no more than 1% of your calorie energy come from trans fats. If you eat a 2,000 calorie a day diet, that is 20 calories, or less than two grams of trans fats a day. Given what you likely ingest through your daily meat and dairy consumption, you are most likely reaching or exceeding that amount through natural sources.
Prior to 2006, when it was required to list trans fats on labels, it was hard to tell which foods contained them. Now it’s a little easier, but you still cannot depend on truth in labeling with regard to trans fats. In fact, many products claim to be trans fat free while still containing trans fats. Portion sizes under .5g per serving do not require listing on labels. (In Canada, it’s .2g.) So some manufacturers simply reduce portion sizes in order to meet the minimum requirements, but continue to process foods the same way.
The only way to know for sure is to read the label and to look for partially hydrogenated oils on the ingredient list. It may surprise you where you find them: in addition to the obvious breads, cookies and crackers, I found them in a jar of marinated artichoke hearts!