South Beach Diet Fat Chicks on the Beach!

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Old 05-26-2005, 11:11 AM   #1  
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Lightbulb Prevention of Obesity in Children Act

Got this in my issue of Denise Austin's Morning Stretch:

Quote:
This Week's Child Obesity Awareness Tip
In an effort to help curb the rising tide of childhood obesity in America, Senator Ted Kennedy has introduced a new bill that, if passed, could ban the sale of junk food and soda pop at schools nationwide! Called the "Prevention of Childhood Obesity Act" (S.799) the bill would give schools a good reason to clean up their nutritional act and stock vending machines with healthy foods they'd qualify for more funding if they do. Schools that continue filling campus vending machines with low-quality foods like candy, pop, chips, and other junk foods could be penalized and lose access to some government funding! Other provisions of the bill include making physical activity a part of every tot's day and ensuring that water is promoted as the drink of choice a t school functions.

While the bill alone won't solve the problems of childhood obesity, the changes could improve some of the contributing factors! If you agree that it's a good idea, why not send a letter to your local representative and ask him or her to support the bill and help stop childhood obesity?

And remember, you don't have to wait for the government to act to start helping your kids make wise food choices! Talk to them today about vending machine and cafeteria options at their school, helping them understand which foods keep their bodies healthy and strong, and which ones don't!
Does anyone have the link for figuring out your representatives? I know my senators, but not sure of my representatives. Know I can google it, but wonder if anyone has it handy and can post it here for all?
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Old 05-26-2005, 11:50 AM   #2  
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Leave it to me (the former Senate staffer)!!!

http://www.house.gov

put in your zip code

same for http://www.senate.gov
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Old 05-26-2005, 12:07 PM   #3  
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Thank you, Jenn!

Here's a draft of my letter in case anyone wants something to work off of an modify to their own thoughts:

[QUOTE]
Dear Representative ___,

I recently read of Senator Ted Kennedy's "Prevention of Obesity in Children Act". As an educator, I have seen what the junk food served in our nation's cafeterias have done to our children. Certainly this is not the only cause of obesity, but it does exacerbate the problem. Children learn about the food pyramid in class, then eat a lunch comprised of tater tots, ice cream, and chips. They are hyper in the morning and drowsy by mid morning as their blood sugar drops. The cycle happens again after lunch. This is not conducive to good learning.

In areas like [my town], school lunches and breakfasts may be the only meals a child eats each day. Let's make sure they are healthy. New York City is leading the way in our state by introducing healthier meals in all their schools. Chef Jorge has introduced salad bars, healthier meals, fresh snacks and healthier alternatives, like skim milk. You can read more about his program here: http://www.usnews.com/usnews/health/...0509/9chef.htm

Please consider Senator Kennedy's act seriously. I hope that you will support this act and the health of our nation's children.

Best Regards,
Laurie A. Garner
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Old 05-26-2005, 12:19 PM   #4  
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Did anyone see the Simpson's a while back about Bart getting addicted to the food in the vending machine? He gained a bunch of weight and got sent off to a fat camp! It was so funny... He was going crazy to get his sugar rush each day. Thing is it's true for some kids!
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Old 05-26-2005, 03:57 PM   #5  
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While I agree that the junk food in schools needs to go, you can't legislate morality or behavior. I also wonder what the unintended consequenses will be. Does it mean that "fat" teachers could be disaplined or lose their jobs? Does it mean no more birthday cake in the class or teachers lounge? Does it mean that kids could be suspended if the bring candy to class and share it with their class mates?

Hey, that's just the libertarian in me.

Lydia
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Old 05-26-2005, 05:01 PM   #6  
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LOL Lydia...I guess I shouldn't laugh, but that does sound strange. At first I thought you said, "That's the librarian in me".

I doubt such things would happen. I don't think it's about legislating morality (unless we're talking about the morality of practically force feeding crap to kids who don't have much else to eat... ), but about ensuring that healthy choices are more available than unhealthy ones. The kids at our schools are forced to take a vegetable and a milk or juice, but they often don't eat them. If junk food wasn't availalbe at school, they'd either have to bring their own or eat what's there. More kids would be eating healthy. That would be a start. Truly.

BTW, am I the only one that thinks it's ironic that Ted Kennedy, who's rather overweight himself, would introduce this bill?
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Old 05-26-2005, 05:31 PM   #7  
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There was a lady here - senate? something! Anyway - she wanted weight and BMI on kid's report cards! She thought the school should keep track of their health and send them home to parents. The sad thing was, because she was overweight she got tons of fat jokes sent her way. I'm sure she meant well and because she too was overweight, the subject was sensitive to her. She wants to help end this epidemic - and that's what it is.

I say remove the choices that are just junk. But still offer pizza (it's not that bad for you!) hamburgers etc. They don't need Ho Hos all day, but they can have a oatmeal raisin cookie or blueberry muffin. If they aren't taught at home, they won't eat the salad or veggies at school.

We already have rules about no b'day cakes at school or no candy. Last year you could bring treats during lunch if the main ingredient wasn't sugar. This year, you can't bring anything. For school parties, like at Valentines they have fruit, pretzals, juice etc. (For the kids that is... Teacher's lounge is still full of junk!)
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Old 05-26-2005, 06:15 PM   #8  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beachgal

BTW, am I the only one that thinks it's ironic that Ted Kennedy, who's rather overweight himself, would introduce this bill?
Nope! and I think "rather overweight" is being polite.
Lydia
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Old 05-26-2005, 06:36 PM   #9  
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It kinda makes me angry that we are picking on people's weight here. Maybe I'm just sensitive to it, but who knows why people are overweight. I don't know Mr. Kennedy but have seen him on many occassion -- I don't pretend to know why he is overweight or even if he works/is working on it.

I don't agree with the legislation either -- I'm with you Lydia. Kids will make the point that overweight teachers can eat what they want in their lounge, etc. I just think it will cause a ripple effect.

Why not cut funding of SOME sort for schools that do not offer healthy lunch alternatives or something?? I mean, I know that junk food is cheap and sometimes is the reason I myself buy it -- maybe that's why schools do too?

I don't know about any other solution than maybe longer gym periods and less lunch???
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Old 05-27-2005, 12:14 AM   #10  
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I dislike childhood obesity as much as the rest of you...However, most schools use their vending machines as a key source of funding. It's sad, because we should pay for schools without selling junk to kids. That funding needs to come from somewhere.

I'd still rather see the vending better stocked, but it's something to consider.
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Old 05-27-2005, 12:50 AM   #11  
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I think the main issue here isn't that they're trying to legislate morality, it's that these schools depend on some of these vending and junk food companies for funding, to the detriment of the children's health. These companies are profiting from children's obesity, and they're taking the food decisions out of the parent's hands. If you want your child to have junk food then send it with them, but it should not be easier to get junk than a healthy lunch just because Doritos gives the school some funding.

I remember seeing a special on a school that had some of the lowest test scores and most behavioral problems in the nation. They got rid of the vending machines, and instead sought sponsorship from a local restaurant that took over the school lunches . They actually made more money by doing this, and test scored improved dramatically. I wish I could remember what the school's name was. It was a great example of how higher quality food can not only make an impact but still generate revenue.

Some schools have done it without any major problems, so we know it's possible. It's not banning those foods from the school, it's just banning the vending machines and cafeterias from selling them and giving parents and children more choices. I think it's a great idea.
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Old 05-27-2005, 01:26 AM   #12  
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Was that the school they mentioned in Super Size Me, VegGirl?

I have to agree that the vending machines are a problem. The food in the public schools here is AWFUL. I vividly remember the tacos we'd eat, with their softening shells, and the greasy mystery meat we'd put into it. And then they won't sell us water bottles, so I'd have to get chocolate milk. Regular milk makes me feel very sick at my stomach.

During my short stay in middle school, I would have much rather preffered getting a soda and a bag of chips or Ritz crackers than having to endure tough hamburgers on stale buns. Heck, when you think about the fries, I'd probably be getting less calories with the junk food.

The schools should just pay for better food altogether, not ultra-processed, cooked and frozen foodstuff. In fact, when I start school I'm gonna make a petition! I love causing a fuss.

I can't believe I'm saying this while eating peanut M&Ms.. Damn "**** Week."
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Old 05-27-2005, 01:51 AM   #13  
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I think that was the one! Thanks, it was driving me crazy

Funny, I remember the exact same thing about having to drink chocolate milk. I don't know why schools are so big on pushing that instead of potentially free water. I went to an elementary that had VERY little funding, and my mom used to volunteer. I remember lots of green hotdogs, government cheese and stale rolls... we used to sneak over to the corner store during lunch when we could rather than eat school lunch. We would have LOVED some veggies, and I remember there was a big deal about providing fruit and carrots vs chocolate peanut butter surprises. I actually don't think anyone missed them, because everything was so over-processed that the fresh stuff seemed much better.
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Old 05-27-2005, 02:15 AM   #14  
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Eww, green hot dogs? That makes my school sound good. We always had to eat cheese that came out of big tubs. I never ate veggies at school, because my class is always one of the last into the cafeteria and by then everything's wilted and gross, lol. I've seen kids use their fingers to pick up stuff, too, so I'm kind of scared. I don't want teenager germs.

My friend said lot of the middle and high schoolers have teachers buy them Taco Bell or Wendy's, since they're very close to the school and the cafeteria food is so nasty. There are quite a few places to get food near the schools, and some fun stores. I wonder who's idea THAT was..
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Old 05-27-2005, 12:00 PM   #15  
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Jenn, I understand what you mean. And you're right...I shouldn't make jokes about Ted Kennedy's weight. Perhaps his weight problem is the reason he's backing this bill. Certainly as overweight people, we understand better than others what it will be like for the kids that can't beat the problem early.

As a teacher, I've experienced the cafeteria first hand on a regular basis. It's only gotten worse over the years. Some kids avoid healthy food like crazy, but like many of you said, it's become extremely hard to make healthy choices at schools. Cost is definitely a factor here. Some schools are making a difference, like the ones featured on Super Size Me and NYC schools (see link in my letter post above). We have to get creative, but we do need to do something. Funding a school by feeding kids junk or getting them to drink tons of empty calories isn't cutting it. It really frustrates me.

Jenn, I might have read the article wrong, but I thought it said that schools would receive increased funding if they provided healthy options and didn't provide junk, but would receive less funding if they didn't follow these mandates. Is that kind of what you were saying about more funding if they have healthy options?

Honestly, I just don't think Little Debbie snacks and sugar sodas need to be a part of a kid's day.
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