These are the hot new measurements that every Mom should know. But, don’t fear. I’m not trying to sell you on a new fad diet or at least not one that involves your measurements. These numbers are aimed at your children. And those measurements can alter the life of your criatura.
To help you understand, let me explain the significance of these numbers and the danger of junk food in schools.
38 • Exactly 38.2% of Hispanic children ages 2 to 19 are overweight or obese.
22 • The percentage of Hispanic youth diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes in 2009.
35 • By 2050, 35% of young people will be Latino.
THREE MEASUREMENTS. THAT IS ALL. INTRIGUED?
You should be. Because while you may see your David, Sarah or Francisco as the future Presidente, CEO or Engineer, food and beverage companies see brand advocates, lifelong customers, and higher revenues.
They do not see David, Sarah, or Francisco. Faced with pressure to grow their profits, they see consumers who will help their bottom line.
SO WHAT DO THEY DO?
They reach our children with ads for junk food everywhere, including what should be one of the safest places for our kids, school.
There, children are bombarded with overt and subtle messages, encouraging them to consume unhealthy food. Even worse, these messages are reinforced when our children receive junk food in schools as rewards for a job well done. Do you recall that pizza and donuts party your daughter’s class won after acing their test? So does she. Or, what about the sponsored outing that Carlos’ class took? He’s still lovin’ it. And don’t forget the track meet with free samples! I’m sure you couldn’t because those are the same sugary red drinks that Johnny now wants at home.
We all do our best to feed our children healthy meals at home. Schools are making progress too. School meals are now meeting healthier nutrition standards, and new standards for snacks will be in place next school year. Yet, as students walk to class they can still be exposed to ads for salty snacks and sugary drinks in their school halls, on vending machines, in school newsletters, on school buses and even in their classroom worksheets.
HOW CAN WE CHANGE THIS?
Parents are not powerless. One or two may be ignored but a group can create change. In fact, we already did. More than 250,000 of us told U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) we wanted healthier snacks and no junk food in schools, and we got those updated standards I mentioned.
These Smart Snacks in School nutrition standards go into effect July 1. Now we have the chance to let USDA know that junk food advertising does not belong in our schools. But, we need to act fast. We only have until April 28 to tell USDA our children deserve better. They are more than just customers.
I see faces. David and Sarah and Francisco. I see our futuro. And I will not throw our futuro away for branded school supplies, free samples or sponsored team clothing. Will you?