Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Seriously, WTF is wrong with British Columbia public health authorities?!

Holy mother *#$&*#!

Thanks to CarrotLines' Wahiba Chair for forwarding me this insanity.

It's called, "The Brand Name Food List" and right along the lines of yesterday's post that encourages eating out because heavens forbid we encourage people to cook, this one addresses whether or not you need to actually put together a healthy lunch for your 6 year old or if instead you should simply throw in some boxes or give them money for junk,

"If you are a parent busily trying to pack a lunch for your child before they head out to school you are probably looking for foods that are quick to assemble, healthy, food safe and most importantly something they will eat. Ready-to-eat packaged foods are hard to beat in terms of convenience—but how do you know if they are healthy?"
Um, here's a simple rule. If they came in a box you could have done better.

But it gets worse, much worse.

Once you sign up for the website, you then gain access to a database scored on the basis of the BC school food policy which rates food as, "Choose Most", "Choose Sometimes", and "Choose Least".

Wondering about how useful and rigorous BC's School Food Policy was,
I decided to take a run through the website. Want to see a lunch the website suggested I could "Choose Most" for my 7 year old daughter?
Snack 1:

Elevate Me! All Fruit Original Energy Bars (240 calories and 7.25 teaspoons of sugar - virtually the same as a bag of M&Ms)


Natrel 1% Chocolate Milk (210 calories and 36grams of sugar - double the calories and nearly 20% more sugar drop per drop than Coca Cola)

Pizza Hut "School Lunch Pizza", Cheese only

McCain's Straight Cut French Fries, 85g (19 fries, baked serving)

Breyer's Creamsickle (assigned for some reason to the "Milk Food" category)

Snack 2:

President's Choice Oatmeal Double Chocolate Soft Cookie (assigned for some reason to the "Whole Grain" category)

(And if she's averse to pizza I can "Choose Most" to send her with a Butterball Hot Dog on a Wonder Plus bun!)
Nutritionally for her snack, lunch, and snack?

1,290 calories, 13 teaspoons of sugar, 825mg of sodium.

And of course she's still going to need to have breakfast and dinner.

To be blunt, to call this website and plan just a little bit stupid would be like calling water just a little bit wet.

Putting a healthy lunch together doesn't include Pizza Hut, Superfries and Creamsickles. Those are most assuredly "Choose Least" items.

How is it possible that the public health folks putting this together didn't see it as problematic that double chocolate cookies, french fries, hot dogs, creamsickles and fast food pizzas made the "Choose Most" list? How did this not set off alarm bells? Bells that would alert the folks putting this together that steering parents to choose these foods rather than take a few minutes every day to actually pack a healthy lunch is a bad plan, and moreover bells that call to question the incredibly awful school food policy that green lit these foods in the first place?

If this is what passes for public health, for government sponsored nutritional guidance, for what their schools are going to teach children and parents are healthy choices, literally instructing them to "Choose them Most", to be blunt again, our poor children are just, plain, screwed.