What amused me the most about the Heart and Stroke Foundation's latest press release that announced that chocolate milk (and other sweetened milks) and french fries would no longer be awarded Health Checks was this line,
"Supporting the leadership role the Heart and Stroke Foundation is taking to combat obesity"You mean by publishing reports about childhood obesity and not mentioning calories even once?
Or by having nutritional criteria for Health Check that don't include calorie limits?
Or maybe it's by giving out coupons for kids' meals at Boston Pizza where the meals can easily contain a full days worth of calories?
Or maybe it's by providing a Health Check to Slush Puppies?
Or maybe it's by giving out their seal of approval to foods based on serving sizes that are likely half of what people tend to eat?
Or maybe it's by giving that same seal to fruit-concentrate sweetened candy with more calories than actual candy and in so doing misinforming parents into thinking they're giving their kids fruit?
Leaders don't need to wait for the American Heart Association to come out and say added sugars are bad before they stop endorsing chocolate milk. Leaders don't need to pussy foot around issues of calories and children. Leaders don't need to hold hands with Canada's industry influenced Food Guide. Leaders don't maintain programs that are built on shaky foundations.
Leaders admit when they're wrong and don't try to sugar coat their mistakes. Leaders make tough calls, tough choices and do what's right regardless of what's come before. Leaders actually make substantive changes all on their own.
So while I'm thrilled that the Heart and Stroke Foundation, after over a decade of explicitly endorsing the consumption of chocolate milk and french fries as healthy choices, has finally (thank to the American Heart Association) figured out that they're not, I can only continue to hope that one day they'll actually demonstrate true leadership and make the sweeping changes that would be required to actually make the Health Check program nutritionally sound, relevant and helpful.