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Changing the Way We Eat

Friday, January 28, 2011

At work today I was browsing through the always interesting Nutrition Action newsletter published by the Center for Science in the Public Interest:


In this issue some numbers jumped out at me: In 2008 McDonald's advertising budget was over 1 billion dollars. That is, of course just ONE major food corporation! Can you imagine the mind-boggling total one might tally for ALL major food corps and their advertising for food we don't need?

When comparing advertising dollars spent on promoting healthy foods vs. promoting the "rest" of those food-like substances...? Well for each dollar spent on healthy foods over $1,100 is spent on stuff we should never ingest! A tad outgunned, aren't we...? This is what I mean about the mighty task of swimming upstream against some powerful forces!

These corporations aren't throwing their money away! These advertising companies which are hired guarantee the corps MAJOR return on their advertising dollar spent!

I won't get too much back into repeating my old rant (see below blog):

But here's the thing: There really ARE efforts out there to reverse the tide!

One of them is the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010:

"New school food standards proposed last week by the Obama administration could nearly double the amount of fruits and vegetables that more than 32 million kids eat every day.


If these standards come into force, they could set American children on a healthier eating track that could last a lifetime. The proposed rule, issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture under the newly-passed Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, could also save billions of dollars in future health care costs.

Putting this plan into action seems like a no-brainer, but its expense, which USDA estimates at almost $7 billion over five years, is a major stumbling block. Nearly half of that cost would go to put more fresh produce on school breakfast and lunch menus.

As we see it, $7 billion is a bargain when you consider the price of doing nothing."

The above is from a great article I HIGHLY recommend:

More will be presented at the following webcast: Changing the Way We Eat


"We’re thrilled to announce that Laurie David, author of The Family Dinner: Great Ways to Connect with Your Kids, One Meal at a Time has confirmed she will speak and be a host at TEDxManhattan. The Family Dinner is an inspirational, practical — and, of course green — guide to the most important hour in your family’s day, dinnertime."

Even WALMART and Michelle Obama are getting into the act!


Don'tcha know, if our country shifted resources on the order of BILLIONS of dollars to develop clever advertising to make broccoli & cauliflower as cool and delectable to eat as all those unhealthy choices have been in the past we might all be sneaking extra helpings of our veggies before everyone ELSE ate it up!

And those billions of dollars invested could be paying us back many times over in the form of the health and wellness of our children and their avoidance of long-term chronic illness and diseases.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    It's progress -- getting kids participating in the growing and harvesting and cooking of food also helps persuade them that produce is delicious. And of course all of that takes time.
    2395 days ago
    Healthy eating is really under pressure - thanks for calling this new program to our attention.

    Good weekend,
    2397 days ago
    The New school food standards proposed last week by the Obama was news to me. I hadn't heard about that. I think that is nothing short of fantastic!
    2398 days ago
    Don, I read this article and thought of this discussion: http://www.usatoday.com/yourlife/pa
    2398 days ago
    I thought I was the only one who read CSPI... love them!! Great find. I'd like to think that parents would have done better at educating their kids to be critical of all the super-aggressive marketing out there, but it's too much.

    Kids have to spend lots more time in school (so they can compete in the real world) so schools (government) HAVE to take some responsibility regarding healthy food. When I was a kid I'd have cheese puffs everyday for lunch... literally, EVERY SINGLE DAY of grades 6-12. I kinda knew better, but it was so cheap (and unnaturally-tasty)... that HAS to change.

    Thanks much for posting!
    2398 days ago
  • L*I*T*A*
    great blog with much food for thought.....
    thanks for sharing.....
    blessings and hugs............lita
    2398 days ago
    I agree Don.. I also agree it is a responsibility of the parents to teach healthy eating.. However.. I also believe and have seen LOTS of my peers have there children in SO MANY ACTIVITIES...Neither the kids NOR the parents have any time to sit down and chat... I KNow some of our local schools tout that some of their best students are involved in 5 different sports a year.. I"m sorry i didn't give birth to children to not see them do to chaotic sports schedules... AND I believe in kids PLAYING sports... We were only allowed 2/year as kids.. Not for economical reasons.. But because my parents felt we needed downtime in between.. Not every kid is going to be the Next Michael Jordan.. But i see so many of my peers pressuring their kids into that direction.. and you dump school work on top of t all.. No wonder they burnout by the time they get to college..ANd then they sit there and wonder where they heck their youth went...
    2398 days ago
    Don't you think that the primary responsibility of teaching children to eat right belongs to the parents? We have too few responsible parents nowadays. How many families do you know who sit down to a home cooked meal and have actual conversations? So many people are on the run and eat out or take out or prepackaged meals. How are children to learn what is healthy when the parents don't model good behavior and teach their children? I love SparkPeople where so many people are aware and are working to model and teach their children. I really feel like my generation dropped the ball on family life!

    Cindy at 61
    2399 days ago
    This reminds me of the way I raise my kids, Don. My husband kids me that I've brainwashed them, and I'll take the moniker of a brainwasher happily. He says this after, for example, my son says that McDonald's is the last place on earth that he'd eat. Maybe it's not fair to look at them as evil incarnate, but as you said, these companies spend so much money trying to get us to buy their food repeatedly that I have no problem trying to stem the tide in my own family.

    I've always raised them up to be aware and leery of advertisements and their many claims. We are a nation of consumers but not necessarily informed ones. I know that advertisements target the young among us, simply because they can be molded. Well, I've targeted my young with my own messages, just as all parents try to do. Sometimes I imagine them away at school making poor decisions about food simply because they're away at home, but I truly believe that at least they will have learned from birth that something from a box is never superior to what they can create, that certain ingredients are not okay, what a nutrition label means, and that they should pay attention to their bodies' needs on how much to eat. I know I never got that kind of education at home, so I hope my "advertising campaign" can help them avoid some of the issues I've faced with food and at least give them a healthy foundation from which to grow. I definitely think it's harder for those who live in homes where there's a lack of knowledge.
    2399 days ago

    Comment edited on: 1/29/2011 1:16:51 AM
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