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Food News Wrap: July 8

This week, we are striving for balance.

We’re reeling from the new report from the Trust For America’s health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation on the national obesity crisis. The report shows that obesity increased in every state last year, and that more than 12 million children and adolescents are considered obese.

At the same time, our country is celebrating the creation of the world’s largest hamburger and the “accomplishments” of the guy who managed to eat the most hot dogs in ten minutes on the Fourth of July (which a record-breaking two million people watched on TV). (Apparently this is now considered a sport.)

Then we have to reconcile all of this with the fact that right here in California, an estimated 615,000 people in Orange County alone are suffering from hunger this summer, while school is out and donations to food banks are down.

Food is such an elemental part of life. Why is it so hard for our country to get it right – the right foods, the right amounts, where it is needed?

Just when we need so badly to find that balance, we are mulling over this very interesting analysis from Fooducate about an Economic Research Service study (bear with us, this is getting a little geeky) on food pricing. The study found that fruits and veggies are 3 times more expensive today than they were in the 1980’s (200% increase), whereas junk food prices rose only 50%.

To quote Fooducate, “Imagine if fruit prices had risen at the same rate of soft drinks. They would be HALF THE PRICE that they are today. Imagine that! People would probably buy much more of the healthy stuff… Time for a change in the farm bill? Will we get rid of those silly subsidies that promote cheap soda pop through surplus-corn-turned-HFCS?”

At the same time, we are hearing that industry groups are pushing back on proposed voluntary guidelines for TV advertising to kids. According to Politico,  many cereals, energy drinks and even some milk would be banned from the airwaves under the administration’s suggested guidelines. Industry groups are strongly lobbying the administration to rescind them. (What are your kids watching on TV this summer, by the way?)

OK, so these things are not going to change overnight. But how about this weekend, just to create your own balance and peace of mind, you serve your kids fruits and veggies where you might have served chips. And pass up on the sodas. And get them in the kitchen because it’s fun and it’s healthier to make your own food anyway. Whatwould happen if we all did that? Could we all start some momentum to reverse these scary trends?

If you need more ideas for keeping kids healthy this summer, check out our guest post on MomsLA. And if you’re going to eat a hot dog, go for just one, rather than 62.

Happy (healthy) weekend to all!

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