Last week Jamie Oliver, the controversial host of the new show Food Revolution, was interviewed on Oprah. That same morning I was the guest speaker at a workshop for parents who have overweight kids. Obesity in children has been a topic pounding my brain recently. Why do parents feed their children enormous amounts of junk food? The most poignant question Oprah asked Jamie is, “Do you feel that parents who consistently feed their children junk food are practicing child abuse?” Jamie didn’t flinch. “Absolutely.”
That question has forced me to ask myself If it is illegal for a parent to give a child a bruise on their body, then why isn’t it illegal if they ruin their heart, liver, kidney, brain, blood sugar, self-worth and self-confidence?
My children attend a private Christian school. The school is fantastic – except for the garbage they feed the children (which is a little ironic since the Bible says we are supposed to honor our bodies, right). Last Friday lunch was pizza and chocolate pudding. The afternoon snack was a bag of Fritos and juice. Every morning I pack my kid’s lunch and bring a substitute for the snacks that are served. Even though I take huge strides to ensure my children are eating healthy, their diet and health are constantly being compromised by another teacher or adult. Today (Tuesday) the teacher bought the class chocolate chip cookies because they had good behavior. Tomorrow is a kid’s birthday (which means cake and ice cream) and Thursday is their Easter party (which means candy, chocolate and any other garbage people can shove down their throats).
I have written letters to the school board and talked to the teachers about implementing healthier food alternatives at the school. Nothing has changed.
So the other question I ask myself is: Considering the foods that are served are highly contributing to heart disease, diabetes, cancer and obesity, is the school my children attend practicing child abuse?