Wednesday, April 28, 2010
I believe the children are our fructose...
I am a teacher. Yesterday I had a conversation with one of my students that really disturbed me. Every day this student (we'll call her Sally, since that's such a common name for teenagers in the 21st century) eats in my class. I'm cool with that, but I'm always shocked to see what she brings- an entire family sized bag of Goldfish crackers, fruit snacks, poptarts, donuts, cinnamon rolls, cookies, Sour Patch Kids, etc.
Yesterday good ol' Sally came up to me eating some Gushers (a "fruit" snack for those that are unfamiliar). I joked with her about her snacks. Sally and her group of friends replied 'Gushers are made with fruit. They're healthy'. WHAT? I responded 'They aren't fruit. Fruit grows on a tree, bush, or vine.' Sally says 'It's close enough'. Is it? Over the course of the class period (less than an hour) she ate a pack of Gushers, a Fruit by the Foot, a granola bar (mostly sugar), Teddy Grahams, and an individual sized bag of Goldfish. Her "snack" was over 40% of her recommended Sodium intake, and don't even get started on the sugar and fat content.
It scares me that kids don't know that what they eat is garbage. I had a similar diet to Sally as a kid. I was a VERY picky eater and I loved sugar, but at what point do parents need to intercede? Can parents intercede? 1 in 3 children born after the year 2000 will develop Type 2 Diabetes in their lifetime. The number jumps to 1 in 2 for minority children. In a recent study by the National Center for Education Statistics, 18% of preschoolers were entering school OBESE. Maybe I'm just biased because I'm not a parent, but shouldn't this be one of a parent's primary concerns? Make your kid run outside, eat an apple, and TEACH them that Gushers do not count for a serving of fruit.