The topic of kids eating healthy is a heated debate; I don’t think there is anyone out there saying they don’t agree that kids should eat healthy, but most of us also realize just like everything in life nothing is 100%. As a mom who strives for healthy eating in her own children, I fully realize the struggles we as parents face each and every day with trying to get our children to make healthy food choices.
I guess that’s why the headline of the lead story linked on wordpress at one point yesterday about a NYC mother who was waging a school against cupcakes caught my attention. The story was from the NY Times, their much tamer headline read “Mothers fight against junk food puts school on edge.” And starts with MeMe Roth, a publicist and an Upper West Side mother of two is getting really, really mad — “and I do not mean angry,” she clarified. “I mean mad, like crazy.” Ms. Roth is being driven mad by Public School 9, where her children are in second and fourth grades, and it seems that P.S. 9, in turn, is being driven mad by Ms. Roth.
Ok, so my editorial take on this paragraph pits me against Ms. Roth (as it did nearly all commenters to the story) of her being on her own agenda. I’d love to know what the take would have been if she had been wearing shorts and a t-shirt and her name was Jen and she was from Ohio and she said just said she was “mad”. But she wasn’t and she’s not and she says she’s “mad, like crazy” so the article continues:
Ms. Roth, who runs a group called National Action Against Obesity, has no problem with the school lunches provided at the highly regarded elementary school on Columbus Avenue and 84th Street. What sets her off is the junk food served on special occasions: the cupcakes that come out for every birthday, the doughnuts her children were once given in gym, the sugary “Fun-Dip” packets that some parent provided the whole class on Valentine’s Day.
Okay Ms. Roth, you have my attention; your kids were given donuts in gym? They were handed “Fun-Dip” at school? Our school’s policy is no homemade treats no sugar filled snacks, so there are no cupcakes on birthdays. I admit I get miffed when my daughter asks me for something like “Fruit-by-the-Foot” because someone else brought it in and this apparently passes as “nutritious”. But it doesn’t get handed to her to make the decision of should she eat it or not. It is not necessarily condoned by her teachers.
The next few paragraphs take a turn in scolding Ms. Roth’s approach, which I agree is doing more harm than good…I mean the woman “absconded with the sprinkles and syrups on a table where members were being served ice cream at an event at a local YMCA in 2007” and she’s against Girl Scout Cookies.
And all of this loses focus on Ms. Roth’s point that is in fact accurate, we have an obesity epidemic in this country, diabetes for children is growing at alarming rates. But there are other pieces that are missing from this story. What about physical exercise? What about limiting TV, video games and texting? What about parents setting an example that healthy living is more than about not eating junk food, but about eating fresh, local foods and about moving our bodies?
I did some research on Ms. Roth and found some other stories about her, including one where she admits to a journalist that she does not allow herself to eat until she has worked out, she never ever misses her daily run, and will not be interviewed someplace where food is present. She admits to going without food all day. This isn’t a fight against obesity; this has become her fight against food.
Ms. Roth is seemingly an intelligent woman, with a polished style and point to make. But her message is getting lost because “she” is getting in the way. People are taking sides for or against her and not for or against junk food. Her children were given “Fun Dip” and donuts in school! I’d be angry too. This is not about the messenger, this is about the message. We wouldn’t serve peanuts to a child with a tree nut allergy, why is it ok to serve donuts to overweight children?
Healthy living is not just about not eating junk food, but about eating food in its purest form as nature intended. Eating locally, eating organic, getting exercise are all part of the lifestyle that fight obesity. Ms. Roth needs to practice what she preaches so she can help people hear her message.
posted by KDL | follow me on Twitter: newscaster