Food Revolution

I just watched an episode of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution on ABC. It’s basically about this health food chef who goes around to schools in America to try and make a difference in what kids are eating. He started out in Huntington, West Virginia in the first season and apparently made a positive difference there – despite the resistance.

I didn’t see that first season due to my general boycott of shitty network television, but I did catch Oliver in an interview with Jon Stewart recently and I really liked what I saw. Since then I’ve added the show to my DVR recordings and watched the first episode of season 2 just tonight. The editing and format is a little bit all over the place, but the episode had some important information. Of course there were the staggering statistics of what kids eat every day/week/year in sugar/fat/pure feces, but there was also the fact that the L.A. school system will not allow the show to film in a single school. They claim they’re doing well and have nothing to hide, but a 2006 study says otherwise:

To determine the prevalence and identify demographic and socioeconomic correlates of childhood overweight, we assessed height and weight data on 281,630 Los Angeles County, CA, public school students collected during school-based physical fitness testing in 2001. Overweight prevalence was 20.6% overall and varied by race/ethnicity: 25.2% among Latinos, 20.0% among Pacific Islanders, 19.4% among blacks, 17.6% among American Indians, 13.0% among whites, and 11.9% among Asians. By using multilevel analysis, we found that school-level percentage of students enrolled in free or reduced-price meal programs was independently associated with overweight, after controlling for school-level median household income and student-level demographic characteristics.

I suspect there is a combination of stubbornness and special interests involved here. Companies make a lot of money off selling shitty food to kids, so it isn’t going to be easy to fix the epidemic. But it’s all the more distressing when the 2nd largest school district in the nation won’t even bother to acknowledge the problem.

5 Responses

  1. WordPress has added this fancy little size adjuster thing to the right, bottom corner of the box… Is it newish? Or have I just not noticed? Because, spot on.

    “Evil business! BLAH BLAH!!! BOOOO!”

    Yes I know those evil businesses! Unfortunately the government gets what it pays for, that isn’t Sysco New England’s fault, that’s the governments fault. There is no room for fault here for businesses, as much as I’m afraid that might crush a lot of your readers whole world views, and the rate of suicide by jumping from high places on to much lower hard places will probably spike briefly…

    But there is good news! If a school wants to, it can buy better food! I know. This is crazy. If they didn’t blow so much on administration there would probably be the money for that right in the budget now. We do spend more on education, collectively, than on defense, and the Army always fed me okay.

  2. You’re right. Special interests have no pull when it comes to policy. Especially since they are now considered to be people.

  3. Certainly they have pull. So do voters. You get what you vote for. I’ll bet Food suppliers would be happier if the schools were buying more expensive, better food. You know, they kind they can justify charging more for and padding it with a larger profit margin? That kind.

    I’m not sure the evil corporations argument works here… Maybe if were were talking about fat kids clothing manufactures! Yeah! Sure they have an interest in fat kids.

  4. It’s interesting too, I’m working with northcenter foods right now to provide food for a 14 day activity this summer. I tell them my budget, they tell me what we can afford to buy.

    Why would it be different in any other case?

    If your car is crap, is that the car dealers fault? Or is it yours for buying the damn thing in the first place?

  5. I mean if you knowingly buy a crappy car, don’t anyone willfully misunderstand me.

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