Thursday, November 13, 2008

You've got to be kidding me

So yesterday the news hits that the arteries of our obese children and teens have as much plaque as 45 year olds.


You know what I found more terrifying (maybe horrifying is more accurate)?

Yesterday I also found out that a local elementary school run through the Ottawa Catholic School board offers six year olds not only pizza days but weekly pizza days and get this, they also offer weekly ice-cream sandwich days!

I actually couldn't believe it when I heard it so our fitness director formally called up to ask the school and sure enough, St. Andrew Elementary School in Barrhaven has decided to offer parents the option of buying in to both weekly pizza and ice-cream sandwich days for their elementary school aged children.

Now before you get all self-righteous on me and tell me that parents can always opt not to include their children I think you're missing the point.

Junk food is pushed on our children from everywhere. Television, the internet, movies, video games, food aisles, magazines, newspapers, corporate sponsorships. Why the hell are we allowing it to be pushed on them in our schools?

Shame on you St. Andrew Elementary School, and shame on any school that thinks it's appropriate to peddle nutritional garbage to our children.

If you'd like to write the Ottawa Catholic School Board and St. Andrews Elementary click here and your email will be sent to Catherine Maguire-Urban the school board trustee for Barrhaven/Gloucester-South Nepean, James McCracken the Director of Education and the general inbox for St. Andrew Elementary.

Here's mine:

Dear Mr. McCracken,

Yesterday you may have read the news regarding the arteries of our obese children resembling those of 45 year olds. In general I’m certain that you’re well aware that currently there’s an obesity epidemic and that it has been predicted that the current generation of children will be the first in history not to outlive their parents.

Yesterday I was horrified to learn that St. Andrew Elementary offers not only weekly pizza days but also weekly ice cream sandwich days to even its youngest students.

While I recognize that theoretically parents can opt not to join these obscene and incredibly unnecessary programs, really that’s not the point.

One of the major contributors to childhood obesity is the never ending barrage of encouragement children receive from television, magazines, supermarket food aisles, video games, the internet and corporate sponsorship.

Frankly it absolutely sickens me that one (or perhaps more) of your schools feels it’s appropriate to peddle nutritional garbage to their defenseless, elementary aged children.


Yoni Freedhoff, MD CCFP Dip ABBM
Medical Director, Bariatric Medical Institute
575 West Hunt Club, Suite 100
Ottawa ON K2G5W5
613.730.0264 (Tel)
613.730.3883 (Fax)

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  1. tmana8:46 am

    When I was growing up in New York in the 1960's, ice-cream sandwiches were one of the daily dessert choices offered in the school cafeteria. Between the boiled hot dogs, industrial-sized canned veggies, spoiled or frozen (or spoiled AND frozen) whole milk, and overcooked everything else, they were one of the few palatable choices on the menu.

    I don't remember more than about 1% of our gradeschool population being obese, though. Maybe it's because our mothers oversaw our breakfasts and limited our afternoon snacks, we had playground period after lunch (and some outdoor playtime after school), and home-cooked dinners every night? McDonald's or similar establishments were occasional (once every two or three weeks) treats.

  2. The schools do it because it's a major fundraiser for them. I'm willing to bet a school can make $15K/year through pizza sales.

  3. My children are now grown, physically fit and all at a healthy weight. Oddly they have had an ice-cream bar as well as a slice of pizza as a treat. My job as a parent was to ensure that these treats did not overshadow a balanced diet. I am shocked that with all the fundraisers in all the schools in this metropolis we live in that you have focused on a single school. Do you have issue with this school? Do you have reason to believe the children at this school are more obese than others?Are you not concerned with the chocolate bars, McDonalds and other fundraisers? How about those evil teachers that supply a candy cane at Christmas? Your message may be a good one (lets get our kids eating healthy), while your methods are reprehensible (lets single out one school and suggest that the parents within that school are incapable of parenting). Please physician, heal thy self.

  4. Ah, the famous, "But officer, everyone was speeding" defense.