Who is to blame for childhood obesity?

[deleted account] ( 155 moms have responded )

I had to write an essay on this at the beginning of the semester and I compared and contrasted opinion articles that I found in the newspaper. I am interested to hear about your take on it and your experiences in your own areas.

Childhood obesity is a big deal in the U.S., the percentages of overweight children are increasing rapidly and there seems to be a standstill regarding how to deal with it.

One opinion article stated that childhood obesity is child abuse and children should be removed from their homes, just as if they were being physically or sexually abused.

Most other articles blamed sedentary lifestyles. Video games, television and working parents with no time to coordinate physical after school activities.

Some articles blamed genetics, overweight parents having overweight children and there being little that can be done about it.

Last but not least, public schools were blamed for nutritionally deficient school lunches and soda vending machines in every common area.

So, in your opinion, why is it getting so much worse and what can be done? I'm interested to hear everyone's opinion!

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Jenny - posted on 12/10/2011

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A crock pot is an awesome tool. Throw a pork roast in with bbq sauce and get some buns. You have a ton of pulled pork sandwiches at the end of the day. Serve with coleslaw. Or use ground beef, corn and taco mix to have burritos.

Grill chicken skewers and serve on pitas with cut up cucumbers, green peppers, tomatoes and tzatziki. The veggies come out of my garden, I make the tzatziki.

Make huge salads for quick meals on the go. Pasta salads are great for snacks and lunches. Garden salads are great to put a handful in a sandwich or wrap for lunches. You can eat them in a van too Teresa lol.

Jenny - posted on 12/10/2011

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Look for solutions Dyan. Both parents work in my home too. On days off I cook. I have a stew simmering right now that will provide a couple of suppers and a couple of lunches during the week. I use a cutup cheap roast instead of stewing beef, toss in some root vegetables, spices and homemade broth I always have in the freezer and you have inexpensive meals. I never throw out bones without making broth from them. I have a regular supply of vegetable, chicken and beef broth. I freeze some in ice cube trays to cool down hot meals for the kids. I use leftovers for other meals. Plan ahead and you can make it work. There are no excuses for a lack of will.

Yes, you can get healthy food. Shop the outside aisles, plant a garden, find a farmer's market. The internet is a valuable resource for education and meal planning. Anyone can eat healthy and for less money.

[deleted account]

Lifestyle can very well have an impact. We eat dinner in the van twice a week... While I'm working, we're out of the house from 7am til just before 7pm on those days... Pretty hard to eat 'good' (though I do the best I can) then.

Of course, the REASON we're out of the house til almost 7 is so that my girls can spend 3.5 hours/week in the gym. ;)

Rosie - posted on 12/10/2011

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i'm thinking you aren't understanding the type of work i'm talking about. people are working waaaaay more than we used to. BOTH partners, not just men like it used to be, when women had time to make a thousand things at home, and their husband brought home enough money to pay the bills.

look, i think a lot of people are lazy too. but like i said they are uneducated most of the time. and if they aren't well, i truly think we have been conditioned to be this way because we're forced to work our asses off, most likely aren't the happiest, and need help doing things and making stuff easier on ourselves.
i used to be the type that made things...but always used prepackaged convienant food to do it, thinking i was doing something great. until i really learned about what is in our food and what it does to us, i didn't get it.
i honestly think you people have no clue what the united states food supply is all about. i cannot get food without preservatives or chemical additives, or an ungodly amount of sugar without paying a premium price for it. it seems like in other countries it's either illegal, or just unheard of to have as much crap in their food as it is here. our government is totally to blame, for our lifestyle, and then the food that they force us to use because of that lifestyle. i'm all for personal responsibility, but a person can only handle so much.

[deleted account]

I personally blame parents on multiple fronts -- modeling and making poor food choices, not encouraging and modeling physical fitness, etc. I think the schools don't help the matter, but at the end of the day, the buck stops with mom and dad. I also think culturally Americans don't know how to cook anymore (and rely too much on processed foods) and don't understand what is healthy and what isn't.

Jenny - posted on 12/10/2011

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It's laziness that's key, people need to get off their asses and put some effort into their families health and well being. Stop buying water in bottles. It's so bad for the environment. Get a Brita and a metal water bottle.

Work is not an excuse. I work too. We eat homemade, healthy food every day with a prepackaged thing maybe once a month. Then after I eat it I feel gross and remind myself why I don't eat that crap all the time.

Rosie - posted on 12/10/2011

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in america conveinance is key. people are ready for prepackaged foods to make their busy hectic lives easier (i also blame the government for making it so people have to work harder, longer so they feel they need these conveinance foods).

gas stations sell more "food" than they do gas. we are a society of people that need quick packaged food and drinks. i can buy a 32 oz fountain mt. dew for 59 cents. 32 oz of water in a bottle would cost me close to $3.

Jenny - posted on 12/10/2011

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"there is a problem when pop is cheaper than water."

I don't know where you live but here I pour it right out of the tap. It's been years since I drank a pop.

Healthy food IS cheaper but takes more to prepare. I buy multi-grain bread from Costco. Around $6.50 for 3 loaves. I am looking for a bread maker though to start baking my own. For treats, popcorn is quite cheap and a bag of seeds lasts for quite awhile or we bake some cookies.

Anyone who says it's cheaper to eat junk or blames the government needs to look in the mirror. Although I do think they should stop calling chemicals food too. We all have the choice to avoid it though. It's you that is not trying hard enough and it's you that can make healthier choices for your family.

Rosie - posted on 12/10/2011

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i blame parents first of all. BUT, i blame the USDA, FDA and those in charge of our food supply as well. i can't decide if i blame them more or not, cause often poor people are uneducated and those people are more likely to be overweight and have overweight children.

our food is filled with HFCS. everything has this stuff in it. it is very frustrating to try to find something that is convienant that doesn't have loads of HFCS or sugar in it. even "healthy" food has tons of it in it-like yogurt.

we're told to eat 6 servings of grains a day, yet grains are filled with carbs which equals sugar. there is a problem when pop is cheaper than water. i think that healthy foods need to be cheaper than the highly processed sugary junk. whole wheat bread needs to be cheaper than white, twinkies need to cost more than apples. mcdonalds doesn't need to give burgers away for a buck.

[deleted account]

True Rebecca... except for my morning mocha and the occasional cup (not even daily) of milk or 100% juice... I drink water ALL day long. I've never had a problem w/ getting my kids to drink water. Yeah, they like milk, juice, and soda (the girls, at least), but most of their beverage intake is and always has been water... past breastfeeding, at least. ;)



My son loves his junk, but he'd eat fruit all day long if I'd let him, We don't eat as many veggies as we should, but my kids still have never had any problem w/ eating them... :)

Mrs. - posted on 12/10/2011

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I think it is a combination of all the things mentioned and a few individual ones that apply to each individual case.

That being said, I do notice on my CoM emails that a popular subject on the various boards are subjects like, "How do I get my child to drink water" or "how do I get my toddler to eat vegetables", and many variations on that. So, I asked myself last week, how come I've never had a problem getting my toddler to eat either? Then I realized, all I drink, except for herbal tea, is water and vegetables are served with every meal. Kids eat and drink what is available, it is true, but it is more true that they eat what their parents eat.

IMO, if people want to change (not blame) the obesity problem that is affecting children, a good start would be to start making a dent in parent's obesity problem. It can't hurt.

And hey, no can say pop is cheaper than water.

[deleted account]

i think it's a combination of reasons. it's that now a lot of times both parents have to work full time leaving less time and energy top spend on cooking nutritious meals and getting out and doing active things with kids. kids are left longer to fend for themselves so of course they are going to choose video games or tv over going for a walk or something. junk food is a lot cheaper and more easily accessible now and the ads for these kinds of things are everywhere. also, if you look at the different neighborhoods, you can notice that in higher income areas there are more healthier options available when eating out, whereas in poorer areas it's usually mcdonald's and kfc and the like. if cheaper, healthier alternatives were available in low income areas (where obesity rates tend to be highest) then at least they would have options. also in schools they need more gym. they need to have gym every day for at least 45 minutes to an hour and gym and art seem to be the first things they want to cut from the curiculum. so it's a combination of the government, the parents, and the ad/food industry who are to blame for soaring obesity rates.
under no circumstances (unless the child is severeley obese like those kids on maury) should the child be taken and put in foster care because that will create a whole new set of issues and

Tina - posted on 12/10/2011

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I don't believe you can blame one thing. It's like anorexia who is to blame for that. You can say bullies, parents, magazines but the fact is every child is different. I know some close friends that ate quite healthy as children I stayed at their place quite often so I know this from first hand experience. Two are girls in their early teens one is chubby, one is thin. Then their are two older boys in their late teens and have moved out of home. One is quite heavy built as in muscle. One is very overweight. Their father is skinny as a rake no matter what he eats. The mother is not fat. She's well built. She walks everywhere always has. These kids all have the same parents, went to the same shool and are all different. There is not one thing that makes a child obese and sometimes you can teach your kid to be as healthy as you like and other factors can contribute to them being overweight.

Jennifer - posted on 12/09/2011

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I worked in the school system for awhile, and saw so much that I have many opionions on why kids are getting fatter. Number one, as I stated earlier, is lack of exersize. That is across the board number one in my opionion. Number 2- overmedicating! How does a kid labeled hyper-active (there are many types of attention deficite) get morbidly obese? Because most medications have weight gain as a side affect!! Bi-polar, depression, autism, aspergerers, and all kinds of other 'conditions' are medicated. Our special ed room had 15 kids, 11 of which were obese. All of them were on meds. We watched one boy go from 'normal' to severely over weight in on school term(9 months) due to meds. That's crazy!
Number 3- lack of sleep is PROVEN to cause weight gain. Most kids get less and less sleep. When I was a kid, bed time was 8:30. No argument. Weekends, too. Now most kids don't have a bedtime. One boy(in regular ed) would tell me about shows on at 1 or 2 in the morning. He was a 6th grader, 11 years old! Others text or talk on the phone. My kids have had text and calls at all hours from friends. Kids regularly post on facebook at 2 or 3!
4- processed food can be cheaper in the short term. I do from scratch cooking at least 6 days a week. I can only do this by careful planning. If I buy fresh produce it has to be used, and soon. If I buy and bake a chicken, I have two more meals planned for the leftovers, or they will go bad! Hamburger helper can be made for quite a bit less, but nothing is left for more meals. (another thing to think about- food stamps buy FOOD, if your electric is off, or your fridge is broke, where ya gonna put the fresh food, or how you gonna cook it? Seen families in that boat!)
5- People really don't know what is healthy. My gramma taught me 'starch' is bad. Veggies are best, meat and fat is important. Poor people ate starch cause it is cheap, keeps for a long time, and will keep you alive, but they bought or grew as much of the other as possibe! The '4 food groups' that I learned in school didn't teach this! Now my kids are taught eat starches, they're great! (by the way, soybeans, which are being crammed down our throats, are Asain countries version of potatoes! I know lots of Chinese and Koreans that won't touch a soybean, they say they moved here so they could eat better!) I DON"T blame the goverment for this. People can find out the same way I did! Lots of info out there.
6- Artificial crap. Not often do I see a slim person drinking a diet soda. Some of those artificial sweetners were discovered while trying to make ant poison. Ants were too smart to take it, let's throw it some soda! Eat food, not chemicals!
7- People are not taught how to loose weight properly!! 20 minutes lifting weights and building muscle is worth 2 hours of cardio! Muscle burns more calories at rest, which allows you to eat more without gaining size. Cardio burns fat, but you have to do it every day, and you still have to cut back on calories in. Muscle IS more dense. A pound of fat is much more mass than a pound of muscle, so when you start building muscle the scale will go up, but you will be loosing fat, and getting thinner.
8- Malnutrion can cause obesity! People who have a deficancy will continue to eat until that need is met. Iron is a HUGE problem that cause people lack of energy, and huge appitites. Lack of iodine cause the same! Just because you have food, doesn't mean your getting all the vitamins you need, and your body will force you to continue eating. I've seen this in school kids, too. Ghost white pale fat kid, I can almost bet my life savings he is low on Iron!

I don't think the goverment is to blame for this, by the way. People make their own choices. If we quit eating crap, they people selling it would loose money and change what they sell. McDonald's here started giving milk instead of soda and apples instead of fries a few years back. Parents through a fit. The healthy stuff didn't cost a dime more. Now they still offer the healthy stuff, but you have to ask for it. The school's love it. McDonalds now supplys use with apples as snacks at least twice a week, cause they can't get rid of them any other way!!

Sherri - posted on 12/09/2011

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My opinion parents have gotten lazy and prepare to many processed foods and prepackaged foods. Parents have gotten away from home cooked meals. Also the lack of exercise for our kids. These are the causes in my opinion.

FYI I don't blame the schools at all. Since our schools are 100% junk free and the only thing offered in vending machines is water.

Sylvia - posted on 12/09/2011

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Teresa, mine is a beanpole too -- she's 9 and weighs not much over 50 lb, which is 10 lb less than I weighed at the same age, and I was a skinny kid too! It's certainly not because she doesn't eat junk food :P -- I think it's a combination of (a) genetics and (b) the fact that she never. sits. still.

[deleted account]

Well... I eat a lot of healthy foods too... so do my kids. I'm still only 95 pounds on a good day, girls are 65ish, and son is (was) 33 pounds. Healthy or unhealthy.... they never stop eating. ;)

[deleted account]

I never had a weight problem. I was too thin if anything.


Unhealthy eating can affect you in two ways, make you obese because you over eat to compensate for the poor nutritional value in the food, or underweight from not getting enough nutrition from the food you do eat. Being too thin IS the side effect.

[deleted account]

I may not have a clue here since I'm raising 'bean poles', but... I think the #1 contributing factor is parents. Genetics, finances, and lifestyle are also big contributors.

I can see the blame on school lunches too... even though my girls usually have school lunch. Today my girls brought home lunch cuz they said the chicken that is served today is cooked in a LOT of oil. Apparently it used to be different cuz they used to like it, but now it's gross. Sounded gross to me as they described it too... Of course, they've eaten school lunch more often than not in the past 5.5 years.

[deleted account]

Sylvia: I can see that point (cell phones). When my son was a baby, I didn't have a car and had to bus to and from grocery stores and it was a HUGE pain, you're absolutely right, the 7-11 WAS on the corner, while the grocery store took at least one bus to get to. Also not shocking was the dirty looks that I got while my grocery bags occupied empty seats that people wanted to use. :( Eh, glad to have transportation now!!

I have also read about the kidnapping statistics and while it soothes my logical brain, it does nothing for my mommy heart. :)

Sylvia - posted on 12/09/2011

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@Debb, I'll agree with you on the satellite cable, but a lot of lower-income people have cellphones either because a cellphone is cheaper than a landline or because their credit is not so great and with not-so-great credit, it can be easier to get a cellphone plan (which often comes with a free phone) than a landline. And I think we can all agree that living in North America without some kind of phone is very difficult. So that cellphone may look like a "nice-to-have" but may actually be "must-have" for the person using it.

This also goes to my point about "food deserts" in lower-income neighbourhoods -- it's a lot harder to buy healthy and affordable food if the only stores accessible to you are of the 7-11 type.

It's great that you let your son walk to school, even if it scares you! So many parents let their irrational fears get in the way of their kids' keeping active and growing into independence :( Would it make you feel any better to know that the number of kids kidnapped by a stranger in the entire US is only about 115 per year? And that that number has been pretty stable for decades?

[deleted account]

Kate: I was responding to this..."I meant in general, Debb. And some kids can't afford to pack their own lunch. Some kids can't afford to eat at all." And merely pointing out that most American families pay A LOT for extras like a cell phone (I also mentioned satellite cable), which is money better spend on quality food. I apologize if my post was unclear.

Jennifer - posted on 12/09/2011

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As a side note to the grain debate, if you want to add weight to a cow, horse, or any grass eating animal, feed it grain. wheat and corn espeically. In the wild they eat grass in the spring and summer and stay in good condition. In the fall the grains mature and the animals pack on weight for the winter. They eat the same amount, and their activity level does not change, but they gain. Grain is an amazing food source that works as it was intended! It stores easily, and will keep ya fat through those lean winter months, it will also keep your livestock energized and in good condition while being worked hard. It will NOT keep you thin while you shovel it in while watching tv though!

Kate CP - posted on 12/09/2011

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Okay, I was talking about the food pyramid and you went off on cell phones.

How is that NOT a tangent?

Jennifer - posted on 12/09/2011

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So, I read through some, but not all the post. but here's my two-cents. I don't think it's all about what the kids eat. I ate CRAP as a kid! Hot dogs, hamburger helper, mac and cheese and spam were staples in my house. If it was canned or packaged we ate it! My mom could not cook! I didn't eat a steak that wasn't burnt until I was 17! I never had a weight problem. I was too thin if anything. I was outside everyday, though. Our 'swimming hole' was 5 miles from our house. We rode our bikes or walked(ran) there several times a week. My mom normally never knew where we were. We had to be home at dusk, that was the only rule. We had bikes, we had horses, and it was not unheard of for us to show up at a friend's house 12 miles away. Too hot to be outside?? Never happened. Too cold to be outside?? HA! We didn't have mom or dad saying, "oh, you may fall" or "you could DROWN"! During school, I had 3 recesses a day until 7th grade, plus gym class. In gym we played games, no forced calistinics, games that everyone played. No worry about getting hurt.

Now, my kids can't go more than two blocks from home. This summer the cops stopped me at the park and said it was cruel to have my kids out in the heat! Now it's too cold to go out, so my kids spend their one recess watching netflixs. P.E. is spent with a book learning about being fit or doing fitness test. Even when they do get to go outside, it is all about don'ts. Don't swing so high, don't climb on that, no running! It drives me nuts! If it really kept them from hurting getting hurt, I could see it, but just as many, if not more kids are in casts or on crutches than I saw as a kid!

Even the 'sports' are so watered down! My daughter has ran ONCE in basketball practice. Two laps. She told the couch she was gonna have to run more or she wouldn't stay in shape, her daddy makes her run more in karate class!

I really think that exersize and activity have as much to with it as the food we eat. I don't know what the answer is though. My kids are certainly not gonna be cut loose, in town, to run like we did. I give them much more freedom than most of their friends, but not the miles and miles I had. We do have a park with a creek and trees, and lots of 'toys', but the trees and creek are what attracts the kids, and they are not suppose to play there. Why? Why can't cities and towns set 'nature areas' as well as parks? Skate parks, BMX tracks, low cost water parks, basketball courts, baseball and football fields, all of those would encourage families to get away from tv. Yes, someone might get a booboo, and some may get injured badly, but isn't that happening NOW?

Next year, my 11 year old starts 6th grade. The 'playground' is asphalt, with 6 foot fencing. The kids call it the prison yard. It's not. Prisonors are allowed to lift weights, play basketball, and move around. The kids are not. They are expected to act 'like adults' and sit or stand quietly for their recess, which will be called 'break'. They are allowed to eat and drink, vending is availible! What a crock, treat them like adults, and they will have adult weight issues! (not to mention hyperactivity and disciple problems!)

Kate CP - posted on 12/09/2011

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Debb: I think you've gone off on a tangent. My point was that some children (a majority, actually) can't afford to pack their own lunch and thus are FORCED to eat whatever the school feeds them. The school feeds them what the government says is good for them: grains and carbs. The idea that grains and carbs are good for you is based on flawed research and government kickbacks: the food pyramid.

This isn't about poverty or who can afford what. It's about what's taught in schools and to doctors. The food pyramid is WRONG. If you follow the food pyramid to a T you will probably end up feeling hungry all the time, nutrient deficient, fat, and diabetic.

At least...that's what happened to ME.

[deleted account]

Sylvia: I couldn't agree more with your take on parents being fearful. I am terrified as a parent. My son walks to and from school every day and I am so scared that something is going to happen to him. My fear of him being hurt or abducted greatly influences my decision making process when he asks if he can go do something with his friends. I hate it. If I could wrap him in bubble wrap and teleport him to and from school, I totally would!! :)

[deleted account]

Kate: But the debate is, who is to blame for childhood obesity. My point is that I am not willing to place to blame on the government. I pay $195.00 a month for cell phone service for myself, my son and my best friend's son (she can't afford it and he's 15, so I provide it for him). If the question is, quality food or a cell phone, the phone lines are getting suspended and we're heading to the grocery store. On that note, the number of American's with cell phones are staggering, even where poverty is bad. I have a former friend who told me once that she was too poor to buy food (she texted me this on her smart phone), I nearly came unglued. I can drive by one of the poorest neighborhoods in Denver, where housing is government subsidized and all of the apartments have satellite dishes installed! But this is my example, and I understand that there is real poverty out there, I am not disputing that. I don't have a lot of money, but I do have "extras" that I can make go away if it becomes a choice. I believe that many, many American families could benefit from better money management too.

Minnie - posted on 12/09/2011

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It kinda is forced though, through the promotion of the pyramid. The pyramid wasn't developed through science, its money-based, and it's been successfully indoctrinated into health classes. And when everyone believes that the base of their diet should be pastas, rice, cereals and breads, well, they've been successfully 'forced.'

Sylvia - posted on 12/09/2011

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I think it's More Complicated Than That.

For sure more kids are eating more junk food than in our childhood. Culprits: more aggressive marketing of junk food to kids*; more working parents with less time to cook; more pressure to enrol kids in more "enriching" activities which also leaves less time to cook.

Far fewer kids are walking/biking to school; more are being driven to school, or even driven to the school bus stop -- a saw a mum say on another thread last week that she drives her son 4 blocks (FOUR BLOCKS!) to the bus stop every day -- which parents would have laughed at when I was a kid. Culprits: America's Most Wanted, Nancy Grace, etc.; "worst-first" thinking and abduction paranoia on the part of parents; over-the-top liability rules on the part of schools and school districts; suburban neighbourhoods with no sidewalks where schools are too far away for kids to walk.

Fewer kids are out in the yard climbing trees or in the street playing road hockey; more are indoors playing video games or doing homework. Culprits: see above; also NCLB and related downward curriculum creep leading to more homework; also, video games are WAY cooler than they used to be.

There is WAY more homework for younger and younger kids. Kids get less PE and less recess time. Some school districts in the US, I swear I am not making this up, have done away with recess to make more time for test prep. Culprits: see above.

Kids spend much less time playing and much more time doing organized sports, which in general involve much less actual physical activity than they would engage in if just left to themselves to play outdoors. Culprits: see above.

"Food deserts" in low-income areas. Neighbourhoods deliberately designed without sidewalks. Pathological fear of personal-injury lawsuits. Crappy public transit. Massive lobbying by producers of foods that make us fat. It's all part of the picture...

*In Quebec, where there are strict rules against marketing junk food to children, the prevalence of childhood obesity is relatively low, even though kids in Quebec are the least active in Canada. Makes you think.

Kate CP - posted on 12/09/2011

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I meant in general, Debb. And some kids can't afford to pack their own lunch. Some kids can't afford to eat at all. The only hot meal they get is at school.

[deleted account]

Kate, I have to disagree on this. Again - Ultimately, I decide what my son eats. As I said in my post yesterday, in my area, I can send him to school with a lunch prepared at home, if I disagree with what is served at school. I realize of course that some schools frown upon kids bringing lunches from home, but I have not yet heard of a school that has banned them completely. Even if my son's school did that we have what is called open registration and I can place him in any school I choose. But, this is in my area, I can't speak for other areas, I can only provide my opinion about my area.

Kate CP - posted on 12/09/2011

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Debb: The government decides what kids get fed is school. The government decides what the food pyramid (or plate or whatever it is today) is made up of and looks like.

...The government is also slave to lobbyists from Con Agra and Monsanto foods. Our food pyramid says we need to get a majority of our calories from grains. THAT IS NOT TRUE. We need to get a majority of our calories from whole fruits and vegetables followed by a good serving of meat and fat and a minimal amount of grains. Grains are NOT good for you. If you have to process the food to make it edible you shouldn't be eating it. And neither should your kids.

Fats don't make you fat. SUGAR makes you fat. And grains are full of carbs and sugar.

[deleted account]

How can the government be blamed here? I live in the U.S. - I pay for private health insurance as it is not offered by my employer, I do not qualify for government assistance as I make just above the income threshold. I pay my taxes without complaint, with the understanding that some of my money goes to fund people that in my opinion are just lazy and choose to live off of the system (not saying EVERYONE, but I have known a few that soured my opinion). I cut coupons and shop sales and consider myself to be an excellent provider for my family. Incidentally, I was also a teenage mother, a despite the statistical odds against me, have done really well for myself and my son, with zero help from his father. And, all of this success, has been living in this government-without needing government money to survive. Again, I am not going to say that it's perfect, but I will say that I am as free as I choose to be. I am free to move to another country if I wish. I am free to educate myself and educate my son. I am free to avoid the pitfalls in the society around me and work hard to make a good living. My point is that there are flaws in every government, but I know for a fact that where there is a will, there is a way. I refuse to hold my government accountable for decisions that I am free to make on my own for my family. It seems like a cop out to me.

Jenni - posted on 12/09/2011

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The US government themselves push more regulations on citizens while deregulating business. In a Crony Capitalist society like the US. It is in politicians best interest to make business conditions more favourable for capitol gain than it is to (as it pays their salary through donations from lobbyists) than it is to put the citizens best interest's first. As they don't contribute to their paycheck... or rather... not in as large of sums.



ETA: I'm not saying it's impossible to eat healthy in the US on a limited budget. But the crap food is generally cheaper and more convenient as well as being highly unregulated. I honestly can't even choke down fast food in the US. It's garbage. No offense, I don't mean to sound like an international snob. It's much, much different than fast food here.

[deleted account]

I guess my other point is this, kids eat anywhere from 11-16 meals a week at home, excluding snacks and depending on whether or not they eat breakfast at school. On the other hand, kids potentially eat between 5-10 meals at school. Regardless of the scenario, either way, more than half of the meals are eaten at home, so is it really fair to say that schools are to blame? Furthermore, no matter how busy a parent may be, breakfast can be eaten at home, even if the parent has to cook meals on weekends and store them for the kids to heat themselves, in the event that they get themselves to school. That alone could change the ratio from 10 to 5 at school and 11 to 16 at home, making a big, big difference. Even when my son was in before school care, he had to get up early with me to eat breakfast. In my case, I have always made just enough money to not qualify for government assistance, no big deal. I budget carefully and if you don't qualify for free or reduced lunches, as I do not, it's MUCH less expensive to feed him at home. If I had him eat breakfast AND lunch every day at school I would have to spend $20.00 a week! That's a third of my weekly grocery budget.

Jenni - posted on 12/09/2011

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The scary thing in the US, if we're going to talk about obesity problems in the United States. As this is a cultural issue there, of course that doesn't negate personal responsibility, however....



Their economic system allows for over regulating individuals or citizens while under regulating business. Why is this important to this discussion?



Because the best interest of companies, businesses, corporations takes precedence over society as whole. Food co. make much more capitol or profit when they have less regulations and can produce cheaper, less healthy food-like products. They are highly unregulated because profit is more important than the consumers health. And again, the system in the US puts emphasis on profit over society. Capitalism over socialism.



It is basically an anarchic playing field in the US for business. They can basically produce food for the public that is highly unregulated, processed garbage with few health regulations. I imagine in other countries, considering there's more regulations for businesses, food is not as cheap to produce. I think one of the main reasons, Mc Donalds is so cheap in the US is directly linked to the quality of food they are allowed to use. I remembering hearing that a grade A steak in the US is equavalent to a Grade C steak in Canada.



Just some food for thought.

Tam - posted on 12/09/2011

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Debb, the schools my children attend are much the same. We get menus of what is offered. Pretty much everything is on the healthy end of the spectrum.



We live in a newer, more suburban area though. I'd imagine that the schools that have the worst problems are the ones who are underfunded in comparison.



I might add that I pack my kids lunches each day, though. Its actually more cost effective for me.

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Nikki, to be fair, I watched the Jamie Oliver show as well, I just don't think that it was a completely fair representation of all U.S. schools. This is a large and very diverse country with each state having the capacity to make changes according to their constituents demands. Is it a perfect system, no...I don't know that there is a "perfect system".

I also live in Colorado, a sampling of Denver Public Schools have recently partnered with a company who prepares all school lunches fresh, and with primarily organic ingredients and delivers the lunches to the participating public schools. I see their delivery trucks out and about near where I work. On the other hand, I live in Jefferson County, they are not yet participating, but the lunch menus are sent to the parents and nutritional information is available online. Lunches at my sons school are not limited to one basic lunch for each student, there are multiple options for the kids to choose from, including vegetarian. Additionally, I can go online and see what my son selects every day, which has been an excellent teaching tool for me with him. I use that to discuss with him which options are better for him and how he can make better choices.

Nikki - posted on 12/09/2011

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Debb, although I am not an American and the small understanding I have of US school lunches stems from Jamie Oliver and TV.... I do believe that it is the schools responsibility to provide a healthy balanced diet. Schools have a duty of care to protect and care for the whole child this includes their health too. I find it disgusting that the government subsidises these horrid meals and then bitches about the child obesity rate. school is for learning, as children a large percentage of our growth and knowledge is learnt from our school environment, by feeding these kids shit food what is that teaching them? To live a healthy lifestyle? Fat chance, quite literally, teaches bad eating habits and poor lifestyle choices. Basically continues the circle of abuse that the government implements on it's people. Bad food = poor health = health care which so many people cannot afford.

@Jenni, in Aus neglect is a form of child abuse, people don't like using the word abuse because it has such negative connotations, but it doesn't matter how you dress the word up the meaning is exactly the same, here anyway.

Aniesha - posted on 12/09/2011

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I believe that parents aren't putting as much effort into actually being parents as they should be. Not the poor kid's fault, they can only follow by example.

Kellie - posted on 12/08/2011

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Haha LOL! Hey you can eat certain flowers, maybe that's why the poor pot plant is being targeted too?

Jenny - posted on 12/08/2011

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Pot plant Kellie? This is a food thread. I'm talking tomatoes, beans and peppers here. You know, the real illegal shit.

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Kellie-- thats what my husband calls it also. Its pretty bad, I have actually been trying to talk him into leaving the last few months but he has two other kids he'd be leaving behind.
Jenny---Our police force can afford to do everything but actually protect the people. We were almost thrown out of an apartment when my first daughter was just a week old (middle of winter) because we were 3 days late with rent (we were moving when I went into labor) so somethings got forgotten. But yeah, my ex father in law got sited twice and was then threatened with police, he just sucked it up and did what they asked.

Kellie - posted on 12/08/2011

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Well their firefighters can sit and watch a house burn to the ground because the occupants haven't paid a 75 dollar fee, so I wouldn't be surprised if their cops would attend and evict someone for having an unlawful pot plant Jenny.

Jenny - posted on 12/08/2011

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Your police force can afford to attend unapproved landscaping calls? And remove families because of it? Has that ever actually happened? Personally, I would consider that a challenge and say fuck 'em. Healthy food is more important that bullshit regulations.

Kellie - posted on 12/08/2011

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Jesus sounds like communist China over there. I wouldn't cope well under those conditions, I'd be in jail for failing to comply with stupid rules and telling people to get fucked. I understand rules like no pets, but no flowers? No growing your own food? Fuck that I'd be on the next boat out.

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