By the time he graduated from Hogwarts, Harry Potter had battled an array of evil forces. But those confrontations are nothing compared with the evil foods that kids in elementary, middle and high schools have to deal with day in and day out.
Food and beverage companies spent $149 million on in-school marketing campaigns in 2009. Three years later, 51 percent of high schools had company-sponsored vending machines (at least now the Affordable Care Act will make them post nutritional info). And almost 66 percent of elementary schools now offer kids coupons for life-shortening, brain-fogging fast-food discounts. Even worse, 19 percent of high schools serve branded fast food daily.
If you’re a parent who’s vigilant about protecting your children from the hazards of fast food, you still can’t prevent them from being bombarded with “Eat this junk now!” messages 200 days a year.
Æ Lobby school administrators (ask them to act as leaders) for changes.
Æ Work to create other avenues for fundraising, like a family sports day in conjunction with sport shoe manufactures.
Æ Empower your kids to make smart choices.
One study found that kids who pay cash for meals order fewer sweets, more healthy foods and consume 10 percent fewer calories than kids who don’t need to do the math. So keep talking to them about making healthy choices, and don’t give up the fight to make school a place of learning and good health!
Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief medical officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.