Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Heart and Stroke Jump Rope for Pizza

Ever hear of the Heart and Stroke Jump Rope for Heart program? Basically school children across Canada skip rope to fundraise for the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

According to the Heart and Stroke Jump Rope for Heart parents' page the program is important because,

"The biggest threat today is childhood obesity, with 26% of Canada's children (2 - 17 year olds) being overweight or obese - over 1.6 million!


At the Heart and Stroke Foundation, we're working hard to stop this trend through programs like Jump Rope for Heart.
One of my reader's elementary school kids participated in this year's Jump Rope for Heart and you wanna guess what they and all their friends received for jumping rope for a few minutes? They each received a coupon for a free kid's meal at Boston Pizza, a Heart and Stroke Foundation mega-sponsor.

I've blogged about the unholy partnership between Boston Pizza and the Heart and Stroke Foundation before with regards to their Valentine's Day heart shaped pizzas and the Health Check restaurant program, but this really takes it to a new level of abominable.


Before I get into some numbers, bare in mind that the recommended maximal number of calories per kid's meal is 400 and that a child's recommended daily total sodium intake is 1200mg, and that childhood obesity is the primary driver behind the Heart and Stroke Jump for Heart program.

Now, doing the math on the Heart and Stroke Jump for Heart coupon kid's'meals, the average meal (and full disclosure here, I admittedly didn't include the "Baked Salmon" main or the "Steamed Vegetables" side because what kid in their right mind would order them when eating out at Boston Pizza) contains 742 calories and 1,197mg of sodium - 2 meals worth of calories and a full day's worth of sodium.

But that's just the average. If your kid eats the Boston Pizza grilled chicken sandwich with mayo, a side of fries, a juice and a "Monster Cookie", they'll consume a Heart and Stroke Foundation sponsored 1,293 calories and 2,220mg of sodium along with 10 teaspoons of sugar for good measure.

So there's a few great lessons for these impressionable kids - unhealthy food is a fabulous reward for good deeds and that a few minutes of light exercise earns a highly processed, high calorie, high sodium and high sugar meal.

Oh but parents, don't worry. According to the Jump Rope for Heart website,
"When your child participates, they learn the importance of physical activity, healthy eating and social responsibility."
Because what's healthier than your child eating a full day's worth of calories and two days worth of sodium in one meal at Boston Pizza, and what's more socially responsible than a for-health, non-profit organization like the Heart and Stroke Foundation encouraging families to eat out at restaurants to help combat the scourge of childhood obesity?

Fire. Them. All.