I was getting caught up on my weekend news this morning and the health section at cbc.ca has been doing some pretty great Q&A stuff this week for back to school. I’m used to seeing the shopping checklists and clothing best-buys, they’ve been doing that since I was a kid, but not being a parent, I’ve been out of touch with all the hoo-ha since I’ve been out of school myself. Consequently I was a little unprepared for articles on the psychological impact of bulling or sexual misconduct in schools. (Why, back in my day!) The biggest concern going back to school was whether to get the She-Ra or Ghostbusters lunch box! (Kids today!)

Three articles really got my attention, What’s In It? Behind the Label, Diabetes Care In Schools and Tips For A Healthy School Lunch. I liked the tips for healthy lunches but really took exception the notion that chocolate milk was just as good as regular milk. It was actually one of the hot-button issues in Jamie Oliver’s food revolution. (Which is really eye opening if you haven’t seen it.) Here are some of the facts out of the National Dairy Council’s report on flavoured milk from Jamie’s home page:

ARE YOU WORRIED ABOUT SUGAR IN FLAVORED MILK? HERE ARE THE FACTS:

  • The recommended serving size for milk in schools is 8oz
  • Kids get milk for breakfast and lunch – that’s 16oz per day.
  • A serving of milk naturally contains 12 grams of sugar (lactose) – that’s 3 teaspoons.
  • The National Dairy Council (NDC) says a serving of flavoured milk has about 4 teaspoons of added sugar.
  • If a kid drinks two servings, that’s 8 extra teaspoons of sugar per day they don’t need.
  • The NDC also says flavoured milk has less sugar than soda, which has 7 teaspoons.
  • Three teaspoons of natural sugars plus 4 teaspoons of added sugar also equals 7, which means that flavoured milk has the same amount of sugar as soda.

So…Doesn’t that much sugar kind of negate any nutritional value a little body would take in from the milk?

Which leads me to the next article about Diabetes care in schools. It really made me wonder how rampant Diabetes has become, for care to become a school board issue? I knew the statistics were up, but that high? Then I got into the what’s in it on the mac n’ cheese label article and that just made my head spin. I don’t know any parent who would defend the virtues of “processed cheese food” but here we are, giving it to them without really thinking about it. How can a little body be expected to sit and concentrate in school if it’s trying to sort out that much sugar, coloured and chemical “food product”?

As I said, I’m not a parent so I don’t have the responsibility of daily nutritional needs for little people. Particularly, finicky little people who won’t eat anything that isn’t shaped like dinosaurs and buried in ketchup. But, I’m completely guilty of it too. Any time my niece and nephew are in my care I bring them candy and let them have whatever they want. Mostly because I’m Auntie and I want them to like me best, (they do) but also because I know they’ll be bouncing off the walls after I leave, making things difficult for my brother and that amuses me. (I’m a terrific aunt, but a terrible sister.)