Bittersweets: Schools combat cupcake menace

Cupcakes are viewed as health threat in some schools ALLEN SULLIVAN / aesullivan@ajc.com

Cupcakes are viewed as health threat in some schools ALLEN SULLIVAN / aesullivan@ajc.com

New York City schools have become no cupcake zones.

Taking aim at skyrocketing obesity, the city’s Education Department has banned the use of bake sales as fund-raisers for teams and clubs, according to The New York Times.  (An exception is made in the new wellness policy for parent groups and PTAs. They can sell treats once a month.)

In Georgia, some schools have banned baked goods as snacks, requesting that parents send in granola bars, raisins or carrots.

(I find it contradictory for schools to forbid foods made from fresh ingredients  in favor of processed granola and fruit bars that contain enough preservatives to outlast an ice age. )

The Times reports that about 40 percent of the city’s elementary and middle school students are overweight or obese.

Georgia ranks 12th in the nation for childhood obesity, according to the public health advocacy group Trust for America’s Health. Nearly 37 percent of the state’s kids are too heavy, according to a study funded by the state Department of Human Resources.

Bake sales raised a considerable amount of money for school groups, with one school reporting that a sale could net $500. Students are being told to consider walk-a-thons as fund raisers, but such events are far more complicated to organize than asking band members to bake a dozen chocolate chip cookies.

“Schools are supposed to be a place where we establish a model environment, and the last thing kids need is an extra source of pointless calories,” Howard Wechsler, the CDC’s director of the division of adolescent and school health, told the Times.

I watched the Barbara Walters dust-up with Paula Dean where she accused Dean of contributing to the kid obesity epidemic. (I have to say that I happened to watch Paula’s show over the weekend and she and a guest were demonstrating how to make fried butter. Honest. Even Paula thought it was sick.)

But a ban on bake sales? In high schools where kids can leave school and get their own fries?

25 comments Add your comment

high school teacher

October 4th, 2009
9:37 pm

Maureen, were these bake sales conducted during the school day? I am just wondering. I don’t have a problem banning bake sales during school. We have a battle at our house over ice cream sales. The kids at the elementary school can buy ice cream for $1.00, which is reason number 2 on the list of why our boys don’t get to buy it (the first being that they don’t need ice cream every day). We have settled for a compromise: they can buy ice cream on Fridays.

Are there really high schools where can leave for lunch? Anyway, at our high school this year the drink machines only offer water, orange juice, and diet colas. However, 8 oz of orange juice has as much sugar as 8 oz of a regular coke, and I would rather my kids have real sugar in moderation than artificial sweetener. And, the diet colas only go so far when they are used to wash down the candy bar that is for sale in the machine right next to it…

Tony

October 5th, 2009
7:55 am

Big brother obviously knows best and this is a classic example of government intrusion into our lives. In many places, bakes sales have been severely limited as health departments have enforced rules requiring the goods be baked in approved kitchens.

The placement of diet drinks in school machines causes me concern as it does for high school teacher. The artificial sweeteners are more harmful to the body than natural sweeteners. And, yes, there is as much sugar in OJ (or any other juice) and it is still sugar. If we are so worried about obesity, why don’t we fully fund PE for all schools.

The most alarming thing about the kinds of policies we are developing in response to the perceived obesity problem is that they are intrusive into our private lives. What’s next?

Meme

October 5th, 2009
10:04 am

HST – I had the same question. I don’t think bake sales are held during the school day. Any time we have one here the PTO is in charge.

Guess who

October 5th, 2009
10:06 am

We sale fresh baked cookies and lollie pops during our school day. Got to make that money.

V for Vendetta

October 5th, 2009
12:10 pm

Let’s take a look at the real problem here: a generation of kids who would rather sit in front of a TV and/or computer than take one breath of fresh air outside, recreational sports and recess time being completely eliminated from elementary schools, and parents who enable these little fatties by catering to their every whim.

Whenever someone talks of obesity, it makes me want to puke. The way to fix FAT is not by denying someone food, it’s by getting him off his big, fat butt and moving around doing something. I was an athlete throughout all my school years, including college, and the discipline and lessons in physical fitness I learned participating in sports still impact me to this day. There are two primary ways to be fit depending on your body type:

Lucky: Eat whatever you want, work out regularly, be skinny.

Unlucky (though far more common): Eay smart, healthy foods; work out regularly; be skinny.

This is NOT one of the choices: Eat less, do nothing, be skinny.

Sorry, it doesn’t work that way. Just ask a fat person.

jim d

October 5th, 2009
12:39 pm

Sorry Cupcake,

““Schools are supposed to be a place where we establish a model environment, and the last thing kids need is an extra source of pointless calories,” Howard Wechsler, the CDC’s director of the division of adolescent and school health, told the Times.”

Howie needs to understand that exercise fits into that model environment and if they’d just let the kids escape the confines of their prision once in awhile–they’d run it off at RECESS.

jim d

October 5th, 2009
12:41 pm

V,

Another great idea you have come up with—-PUKE”–that’ll keep the weight off. :)

jim d

October 5th, 2009
12:55 pm

Maureen Downey

October 5th, 2009
1:02 pm

Jim d, With that song, I think you’ve identified one of the reasons kids drop out.
Maureen

mama-mia

October 5th, 2009
1:16 pm

Oh Crikey! It’s stuck in my head all day now.

jim d

October 5th, 2009
1:24 pm

mo,

back in the day we had a president that knew you couldn’t dictate peoples eating habits, so the next best thing was to make them feel good about themselves and start exercising.

he made it a game and a challenge at the same time. and yes it had a positive impact.

Larry

October 5th, 2009
1:41 pm

Cupcake menace?

M’lady, your sense of humor just cost me a monitor wipe, a keyboard and a perfectly good mouthful of Warsteiner.

Old School

October 5th, 2009
1:47 pm

Since all video sites are blocked here, jimdear, was that a video of the “Chicken Fat” song? I never endured that one as a child but both my girls loved it in elementary school. I just remember my head being full of “go you chicken fat. . . go!”

high school teacher

October 5th, 2009
1:50 pm

Watched the link, Jim (I’m home with a sick child today). For some reason, I have the urge to watch “The Music Man.”

jim d

October 5th, 2009
2:08 pm

Yes old school,

it was in fact the chicken fat song. LOL

hst,

play it over and over– child will be better and back at school in the am.

high school teacher

October 5th, 2009
2:28 pm

jimd, he has a stomach virus, so chicken fat might not be the right song today. Maybe tomorrow!

Old School

October 5th, 2009
6:20 pm

Just watched it, jimdear, and suddenly realized there was this aroma coming from the kitchen. . . hubby’s cooking Carribbean Chicken sans Fat.

MsCrabtree

October 5th, 2009
6:32 pm

Oh the memories of the early 60’s. Did anyone notice there were no obese kids in those school photos? Yet, back in those days, we all stopped at the soda shop after school for a coke and whatever. My dentist even gave out ice cream certificates if you didn’t holler while he drilled your teeth sans novacaine. Yes, we WALKED home. No buses where I lived. Got home, changed clothes and went OUT to play for a couple of hours, stickball, stoopball (NYC childhood), hide and seek, running races, etc. etc. We were active enough to burn off the calories. Who had a TV in their bedroom? Your mother sent you to your room to do your homework and read while she and dad watched Perry Mason. We went to school, minded our teachers, and learned. I long for those days.

catlady

October 6th, 2009
7:12 am

HOME is supposed to be a place where we establish a model environment, IMHO,

catlady

October 6th, 2009
7:13 am

Maureen, let the teachers tell you about the kids on free lunch who cannot afford their food yet bring 2-3$ per day for junk snacks.

madmommy

October 6th, 2009
8:51 am

When I look back at my childhood, we didn’t have soda or vending machines at our school and if we did it was for the teachers only. Soda was only a treat when we went out to eat or to a family gathering, not an everyday occurance. We had recess twice a day both in the morning and afternoon and had a full lunch period where you ate as fast as you could so you had plenty of time to play. Then changed clothes once we got home and went outside to play some more. Kids today just don’t move and I think it’s wrong to not teach them the importance of balance between what you eat and how much you move. Now, if crap is all these kids are getting, then yes do away with it. I try my hardest to off-set what my daughter might eat at school with healty items at home and I think everyone else should as well. You are what you eat and how much you move.

Meme

October 6th, 2009
12:03 pm

Catlady, you hit the nail on the head.

Echo

October 6th, 2009
6:16 pm

Many people seem unaware that the school (I think the Princ. discretionary fund?) gets a cut of vending machine money. We have vending machines every few feet it sems. I think at last count there were almost 30.

And it does seem lke the kids on free/reduced meals spend more $$$ at these machines…hot cheetos for breakfast is pretty common (and gross!)

healthykids

October 24th, 2009
3:31 pm

Parents should NOT bring in cupcakes to feed other people’s children at school. This is not about Big Government telling parents what they can and cannot feed THEIR OWN kid. The school system SHOULD tell parents they cannot bring in food to feed OTHER PEOPLE’S children. This actually gives parents more control over what their children are eating when they are at school. Sending in food to the classroom is an outdated custom that does not meet the needs of today’s children. We have more childhood obesity, diabetes, and food allergies than ever before. It is also a safety issue for all children. When parents send in food it is totally unregulated, no one knows where it’s come from or what’s in it. Children can celebrate at class parties with fun activities and games, not just sitting and eating junk food.

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