Have you guys seen Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution? The documentary series, which airs on ABC, follows British chef and food activist/reformist Jamie Oliver as he attempts to bring change to America's food system. Last season he was in Huntington, West Virginia and this year he is in L.A. One would think L.A., home of the celebrities, Hollywood and all around pretty people would be completely on board with change but so far (I've watched only one episode) the L.A. school district is being more difficult than Huntington!
Why is it so hard for people or rather institutions to be willing and ready for change (easy answer: money. Read Food Politics if you want an in depth answer)? It is one thing to put inappropriate things in our own bodies but if we can't protect and guide the children in our care then what is wrong with us?! I once had a 'debate' (more like an argument) with a high school teacher who vehemently opposed the removal of vending machines in schools here in Texas. His logic? They're adults, they can make that decision. Since when are 15-18 year olds adults? We won't talk straight to them about matters like sex because we're afraid that they don't have the maturity to handle it but they amazingly have the capability to make decisions that impact their health in a significant way, leading to obesity, diabetes, not to mention concentration issues that directly affect the purpose of education.
Let's also talk about what it takes to be an adult. Children are *supposed* to be taught right from wrong along the way to adulthood. When sugar and fats are being shoved down their throats starting from pre-K, do they really have the right skills or worldview from which to make the appropriate decision?
I'm all for personal responsibility and individualism (which I think are key arguments for people who believe that obesity is a personal problem) but both these concepts apply to the food problem in the U.S. as well. It is our personal responsibility to teach children good eating habits. Is it really individualistic to feed children mass produced unhealthy food?
Once again, the agencies that are supposed to protect us (USDA, I'm talkin to you) are failing us. You may feel like a small voice against a strong loud arsenal of government agencies and large corporations but we can't let the revolution go stagnant. Significant changes have been made worldwide (for example, flavored milk is no longer offered in any school in Europe) so what the heck are we waiting for? I strongly believe in Jamie's message; I wish I could say that change will start at the top but in this case, its not going to. We all have to band together, us 'little' folk, and make change happen. It starts with us and it needs.to.start.now.
What do you guys think? Should we regulate what children are fed or should we keep the system as it is? Will you get involved?
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