More than one-third of U.S. children
are overweight or obese —
a proportion that has tripled
over the last 30 years,
according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Public health experts point to all sugar-sweetened beverages as a key source of excess calories that can cause childhood obesity. In schools, children's access to soda is a major concern. Many officials believe such drinks should be banned in schools in favor of water, low-fat or nonfat milk and 100 percent fruit and vegetable juices with no added sugar.
Half as many U.S. adolescents as in 2006 can still buy high-calorie sodas in schools, but other sugary beverages such as fruit drinks and sports drinks with added sugar and calories remain easily available onsite.
University of Michigan Ann Arbor researchers (2012) found the trend in a survey of more than 1,900 public schools, which has grown as the institutions banish sodas from vending machines, school stores and cafeterias.
Older students who could buy soda in high school fell to 25 percent in 2011 from 54 percent in 2006, while access by younger middle school students fell to 13 percent from 27 percent, according to the study published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. (Susan Heavey, "Sodas Banned From Many Schools But Not Sports Drinks," Reuters, August 7 2012)
The Institute of Medicine,
part of the National Academies of Sciences
which advises the U.S. government on related issues,
has already called for the elimination of regular sodas,
allowing sports drinks only for certain student athletes,
and limiting other diet or caffeine-free drinks to high schools students.
Pediatricians and nutritionists look skeptically at sports drinks, which typically have about half as much sugar per ounce as a Coke. And servings are big; a 32-ounce bottle of Gatorade has 224 calories, all from sugar, while a 12-ounce can of Coke has 162 calories.
According to a study in Pediatrics, teens who opt for sports drinks tend to eat better and exercise a bit more than their soda-slurping peers. But that difference wasn't huge, and these kids are slurping up lots of sugar: Twenty-eight percent of the teens said they drank three or more sports drinks daily. Drinking just one soda or one sports drink daily can, in a year's time, cause a gain of 15 pounds, unless people compensate by cutting back on calories elsewhere or exercising more.
My Bottom Line
I hate the fact that so many American children are obese. As a retired high school teacher, I can attest to the large numbers of teens who eat snack food for their school lunch. During lunch period, many line up at the vending machines and purchase items that are not nutritious. Of course, much has been written about the poor quality and unhealthy content of school lunches also.
For instance, according to the 2004-2005 School Nutrition Dietary Assessment, around 42 percent of schools surveyed offered no fresh fruits or vegetables. "USA Today" reported in December 2009 that the meats schools receive for their lunch programs from the USDA are often of lesser quality and are rejected by large corporations such as Campbell's Soup.
To me, the interesting outcome of research on childhood obesity is the finger-pointing at public schools (government supported) and the suggested mandates to help relieve the problem. It seems as if more and more people rely on schools not only to educate their children but also to raise their children.
Any loving father or mother realizes the tremendous responsibilities inherent in parenthood. They understand their obligation to nurture a child and to provide support and guidelines that help a child grow up in good health. Of course, schools must provide proper loco parentis protection for students; however, to expect schools to be overly concerned about limiting any potentially fattening or unhealthy food raises questions about the future extent of such a policy.
For example, will soda, candy, popcorn, and other traditional ballgame fare be banned from school activities? Will school lunches become increasingly more vegetarian? Will schools ban sack lunches that contain cookies, chips, and other snack foods? Since authorities claim milk contains 59 active hormones, scores of allergens, fat and cholesterol, herbicides, pesticides, and dioxins, will dairy products be banned?
And how about the dangers of bread?
Most grains or grain products (like breads, pastas and the like) are high-glycemic. And to the horror of all, even some of the “whole grain” products on the market are too. These high-glycemic carbs are the ones many nutritionists claim causes coronary heart disease, so you should avoid them in your diet. They’re the processed carbs and the carbs with high sugar content. My goodnesss, rice is also high-glycemic (both white and brown), as are most cereals.
Bread is a loaded gun in the hands of our youth!
Consider the following bread dangers:
- More than 98 percent of convicted felons are
- More than 90 percent of violent crimes are
committed within 24 hours of eating bread.
- Bread is often a "gateway" food item, leading the
user to "harder" items such as butter, jelly, peanut
butter and even cold cuts.
- Bread has been proven to absorb water. Since the human body
is more than 90 percent water, it follows that eating bread could
lead to your body being taken over by this absorptive food product,
turning you into a soggy, gooey bread-pudding person.
- Bread has been proven to be addictive. Subjects deprived of bread and given only water to eat begged for bread after only two days.
Thanks to "The Dangers of Bread"
And what about the suggestions of the Institute of Medicine? If sports drinks contain sugar, why not eliminate them from schools along with soda? Bottled water is available on campus.
This has got me totally confused: “Allow sports drinks for only certain student atheletes”? What the hell is a certain student athlete? I've coached quite a few high school teams, and I've never been asked to quantify the number of certain student athletes on the teams.
Why “limit other diet or caffeine-free drinks to high school students”? If they are bad for children in general, why not ban them from high schools?
According to another report in the medical journal Pediatrics, energy drinks are under-studied, overused and can be dangerous for children and teens. “We would discourage the routine use" by children and teens, said Dr. Steven Lipshultz, pediatrics chairman at the University of Miami's medical school.
Energy drinks often contain ingredients that can enhance the jittery effects of caffeine or that can have other side effects including nausea and diarrhea. It says they should be regulated as stringently as tobacco, alcohol and prescription medicines.
"For most children, adolescents, and young adults, safe levels of consumption have not been established," the report said.
Forget it, kid. Just listen to the doctors and the government. Soon you will be lunching on delicious tofu, yogurt, broccoli sprout sandwiches sans deadly bread, and soy milk. You will lose weight, and I'm sure you won't be a bit hungry come the last period of the day.