Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Kids and Calories

As I have said before, I am involved in two vending machine initiatives. One of them is research and will take place next fall (I will do the final preparation this summer, but have been working with my partners for almost a year)

The other is a community based intervention driven by a small grant. As real life goes, it has gotten messy.  The original goal was to increase the amount of healthy vending in 50% of the local high schools.  We are now trying to do "something" in just one school.  There really isn't a way to make the machines healthy unless we change all the products, and we don't have that power.  We talked about teaching the students about food labels (of course my idea) and using FOP systems to identify the healthier options. Of course, none of that really makes the vending healthier.  It only educates the students on what to look for in a product.

As we were discussing this today one of the people in the room said, to me... "Deirdre, they don't care about calories," to which someone else said, "And most of them don't need to."  
We all paused.  Then said, "well that second part's not true."
(recall that more than 30% of adolescents ARE overweight or obese)

So much more to say about this issue, but I haven't the time, except to say.  The Ottawa Charter, written in 1986 made a very important point: we need policy, education and motivation.  All of these are necessary to create change.
Sadly, for this one activity - we do not have the time or manpower to make that happen.
 My research for next fall - will.

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