Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Food for Thought

By: Brandon A. Basore, BSW, IU School of Social Work

Children are a population I care about very much. Maybe it's their innocence or the fact that they are so impressionable. But the most important reason why children are so dear to me has to do with "voice".It seems that childhood doesn't last as long as it measures in years and some events have the potential to force the gift of "being a kid" out of children's hands too soon . Our lives and dreams become dried up by the pressure cooker of our routine work schedule, money, bills, religion, unfair taxes, and social climbing. My other passion in life is film production and writing. The power of story telling in film is untouched by any other medium in my opinion. I've spent countless times pondering ways to tell touching stories of people's personal struggles and lives. We were all children once. Picture a businessman in suit and tie rushing down a bustling urban sidewalk. Someone who's completely forgotten the sacred joy of spending time with loved ones or who has ignored his own personal passions at the expense of men above him. With briefcase in hand he catches his reflection in the limousine's tinted windows while waiting to cross the street. Instead of a depressed weakened man he sees himself at 5 years old, exuberant and smiling, his favorite team on his shirt, dirty khaki shorts, and tennis shoes. Instead of his briefcase his favorite action figurine is tightly grasped in his hand. We must not forget our time as children and the universal needs of our species, to be supported, unconditionally loved, clothed, and to be allowed freedom to explore, learn, and grow. One need of vital importance is to be fed. But something has been bothering me recently: the nutrition of foods served in schools in competition with school meals. Over the past 3 decades we've seen a drastic change in how families and children eat and play. Obesity in children and the risk of diabetes later in life has risen so high it is such a sad reality for most children. This breaks my heart. I think of Haily, my three year old niece. I do not want any of these terrible diseases to halt any children's chances at living a healthy happy life. I uplift the USDA's attempts to address these issues in schools across the nations. I also would like to recognize First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move Initiative. This program just celebrated its 2nd anniversary and has already made a positive impact encouraging children being more active and learning how to choose healthier foods and resist the candy, soda, and chips. But it doesn't just start or stop with one institution, person, or idea. It is all of our moral duty to guide children to make better choices to maximize their satisfaction of life. We need to question the food industries ethics and practices in how they market terrible foods to children. We need to be the voice of the children when they have been lured into so many bad lifestyle choices by the television, vending machine, and cheapness of cheaply made food.

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