Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The Number Of School Pizza Days, Not The Number Of Slices, Are The Problem

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This struck me as an odd story.

Apparently an elementary school in Ottawa (where I live) has decided to limit the number of slices of pizza that kids can have on pizza days to one. Their rationale is that two slices would exceed the limit on saturated fats as set by the Ministry of Health.

Not surprisingly the story has made some waves, with the bulk of the outrage being about liberty and fun and the overstepping of the school on the rights of children and their parents.

My take?

It's not the number of slices that should be limited, it's the number of pizza days.

The message taught to kids (and parents) by school pizza days, regardless of the number of slices involved, or whether the slices' ingredients comply with Ministry guidelines, is that fast food pizza weekly, for no better reason than the fact that it's Thursday (or whatever day), is an acceptably normal part of life.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting that fast food pizza is something that shouldn't ever be consumed, in fact my family often orders it on our kids' birthdays or when my father comes to town to visit, but given it is the second largest food source of calories in North American kids' lives, as well as the rise of chronic, non-communicable, diet-related diseases in kids, along with the ubiquity of junk food invading every single facet of modern day life, maybe schools should be doing more to teach kids that fast food is a rare treat, rather than endorsing it as a weekly norm.