School Snack News

7 10 2006

Don’t get me started on tales of the olden days when I was a schoolchild, before campus vending machines were dreamt of, much less omnipresent. My elementary school had a real school nurse then too, who seemed as lonely as the Maytag repairman, needed for nothing until you skinned your knee at recess, something else kids lost along with the nurse — am I the only one for whom all this seems backward, not progress at all?

friendly nurse, standing
Speaking of long-past school days, Dr. Phil had his old major professor on the show yesterday, telling parents how to make their kids smarter for school without tutors, by feeding them protein and complex carbohydrates in the morning. So if parents heed this advice, wouldn’t you think the kids would get smart enough not to buy the JUNK?? And if it doesn’t work even that well, then what real good was that healthy breakfast for their brains and thinking skills?

The five food manufacturers — Dannon, Kraft Foods, Mars, PepsiCo and the Campbell Soup Company — agreed to make specific changes in what they sell to schools. . .

¶Mars has created a new line of nutritious snacks.

¶Frito-Lay, a unit of PepsiCo, is reformulating several products to meet the guidelines.

¶Kraft is decreasing the sodium and calories in products it sells for school vending machines.

¶Campbell is promoting soups that are lower in calories, fat and sodium, and offering additional products with less sodium.

¶Dannon is reducing the sugar content of its Danimals drinkable yogurt by 25 percent.

Some states and school districts already have strict limits on food sold outside the government-regulated school lunch and breakfast programs. But

the Center for Science in the Public Interest in a survey of states found that two-thirds of them had either extremely weak policies on snack foods or no policy at all.

Dr. Thomas Robinson, associate professor of pediatrics at the Stanford School of Medicine and director of the Center for Healthy Weight at the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, takes the long view: “This problem is similar to what happened to tobacco over the last several decades; things happened incrementally,” Dr. Robinson said.

So school policy is weak and stupid even on such simple, clearcut matters of what is good for children? I am old so I can say it — maybe the schoolfolk need more than a good, healthy breakfast to get smart about schoolwork, too!

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4 responses

7 10 2006
misedjj

And about those adults and THEIR smarts, I wonder if they stop to ask themselves: if School pressures are so intense that the children throw up, does it matter how healthy that breakfast they lose would have been for their brains and bodies? Are learners more or less likely to crave the comfort of unhealthy snacks after crying and vomiting on a seemingly endless supply of standardized test booklets?

Here’s a way in which home education could and certainly SHOULD light a smarter, healthier and more humane path for schools than current reality, with or without vending machines —

Overburdened, Overwhelmed
In the elementary and middle schools of Rockingham County, N.C., a rural district north of Greensboro, administrators have to discard as many as 20 test booklets on exam days because children vomit on them.

“Kids [are] throwing up in the middle of the tests,” says Dianne Campbell, the district’s director of testing and accountability. “They cry. They have to be removed. The stress is so much on the test that they can’t handle it.”

It’s not just tests that are stressing students. Across the country, school nurses, psychologists, counselors, and others concerned about children’s mental health say that schools in general have become more stressful places and that many students can’t handle the pressure.

What are we doing to our children? Why are we making them sick? What is it about our families, our communities, and particularly our schools that has made their lives so stressful? And what can we do to help?

7 10 2006
Kman

Not to be that negative guy but does a shrink really have all of the answers when it comes to overall health. Dr. Phil isn’t in the best shape in the world either.

7 10 2006
misedjj

Funny you’d mention that — the two head docs did have a bantering moment on the show, Dr. Phil asking his mentor why he was forgetting “words” when he wanted to use a particular one but couldn’t find it in his brain, had to rephrase around it. Dr Lawlis suggested — chewing gum.
I’ll bet that made schoolfolk everywhere cringe!

7 10 2006
misedjj

And slow touch — NYT head docs say slowing down and taking time to connect with each other through hand-holding is healthy for humans young and old (monkeys too). So of course my junior high school forbade it, called it “public display of affection” and had a much less pleasant physical connection in store for persistent violators.

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