Fat Kids? Let 'em drink Coke.

In predictable obeisance to all things commercial, the John Locke Foundation objects today to restraints on advertising directed to children for products that are ruining their health. In this case, JLF is spending Art Dope's money to whine about Europe's swift and powerful reaction to their own emerging obesity epidemic.

While some critics of soda machines and cola ads mouth a broadly anti-capitalist critique, the usual justification for banning them is childhood obesity. In Europe, soft-drink companies themselves decided that the prospect of regulators blaming them for kiddie flab was so dire that they needed to announce last week a “voluntary” ban on advertising to children under 12. They also said they would eliminate soda machines in primary schools while increasing the availability of non-carbonated drinks in secondary schools.

He blubbers on . . .

Advertising to children is not a villainous act. Indeed, there are some authors who even argue that such advertising helps more than it hurts families by reducing the price and improving the quality of the products they consume, while ensuring that children actually like the clothes and enjoy the toys they are given.

Sorry John, but your column is total, total, total, total bullshit.

It is the job of parents first and public policy makers second to stem the tidal wave of negative impacts that advertisers and media have on our children. Later this month, a new study in Pediatrics will show that the toxic media environment is quite literally killing our children, and that parents and policy makers are completely ineffective in countering these disastrous effects.

THERE IS NO FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT TO FREE COMMERCIAL SPEECH. The word "corporation" does not appear in the Constitution. Our country is about "we the people" not "we the businesses."

When companies deliver products and advertising that undermines the health of our children,"We the People" have every right to stop them in their deadly tracks.

Wingers like John Hood and his sugar daddy Art Pope are so dedicated to a libertarian view of the world that they can't even see the tragic costs of their delusions. They don't understand that the common good matters. That protecting children matters. That people need help. That everyone isn't rich.

And that, dear reader, is the difference between the radical right and the progressive left.

Comments

While I was teaching high school

there were kids queued up at the soda machine before class and during lunch, sometimes in lines six or eight people deep. In most of my classes, I didn't allow the drinks to be open during the class period. ("Mr. McCord, how come we can buy drinks at school but not drink them in school?" Good question, I guess.) Kids who came in to class wired after slamming twenty ounces of Mountain Dew were glazed-eyed sugar-crashing zombies by the time class was over; learning opportunities were lost.

Schools are in a tough spot -- they need the dough provided by contracts with Coke & Pepsi distributors. They need this money because we live in a society that distrusts public education. It strikes me that those who are most interested in complaining about schools and least interested in properly funding them are the same people who support junk food in schools. My hunch is that Hood is at least as interested in undermining government-provided education as he is in protecting Coke's speech rights.

(I did allow drinks in a couple of classes one year, but after a few sugary spills half-heartedly cleaned up by 15-year-olds with other things on their minds, my otherwise-healthy relationship with the janitorial staff began to sour.)

Here's a progressive idea:

While I'm at it, let me offer this small proposal: how about soda machines operated by student ID cards (UNC does this now). At the beginning of each year or semester, when parents are writing checks for lab fees and uniform deposits, moms and dads could decide to add a certain number of soft drinks to Junior's ID card account. Parents with disposable income who want their kids to be sucking soda could let them, but the school would effectively put up a barrier to minors' bad decisionmaking skills re: soft drinks. That would empower the adults in the situation an informed choice, and that's progressive.

Sugar addiction

My six-year-old is on a self inspired anti soft drink crusade after reading an article about how Coke at one time contained cocaine. Soemhow he didn't process the part about the cocaine no longer being an ingrediant, but we aren't correcting him. Young children don't actually like the taste of all that carbonation. But they do like the sugar. It starts in babyhood when they start sucking down juice instead of milk or even water.

Good for you

for raising an activist!

We've got it easy.

At age 2, our son was diagnosed with a corn allergy. Because of this he has NEVER had a soda or candy bar or nearly any other junk food. This allergy-imposed diet has lead us to live a life of fruit, vegetables, and meat - all of which has to be organic to avoid corn-based food colorings (on your beef), sprays (on your poultry and vegetables) and waxes (on your fruits). It isn't until you are forced that you realize how much crap is in your food.

Does your son know that some artificial colors are made from petroleum? Get yourself a big glass of 10W40 and decide how much processing it will take before you drink it.

Kids in school need exactly NO sodas. Zero. Nada. Zilch. you get the point. There should not be soda machines in ANY schools, sodas provide absolutely no nutritional value and they help lead to diabetes, heart conditions, obesity, etc. Should we let the schools put cigarette machines in the school to help raise money? Don't think it is all that different.

How about putting a machine in that sells organic pasta salads, healthy bars, sugary fruits like dates and figs, or bags of mixed nuts (sans the honey coating)? That way, if kids want to spend money, they have options.

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

When I was in high school....

way back when we had our lessons in caves; there were no soda machines in school, cafeterias served cafeteria food and you couldn't go off campus for lunch. Most kids who had weight problems had other health issues - pudgy was as bad as it got.

Of course, I come from a safer time when kids played outside all day long. The three channels we had on the teevee showed their programming in black and white (Oh.My.God.) and rarely had anything on to entertain kids. We rarely watched unless Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom was on or Jacques Cousteau. There were no video games. Most evenings we didn't want to come inside.

We also had a completely different diet. Frozen dinners were a rare treat, not dinner as usual. Chips were delivered in a can by the Charles Chips man. They were a rare treat as well and when you needed a refill you put your can out on the porch and he would refill it.(We missed the Charles Chips man once grocery stores started carrying chips in bags, but my Mom still has the can and my brothers and I fight over who will inherit it.) Our milk was delivered by the milkman. He brought the eggs too. They were from a local dairy. There were no preservatives. We ate organic because we had no choice. Cookies were homemade. We bought our meat from a butcher who personally knew the cow he had just slaughtered. (hehehe...just kidding)

Life is so very different today. I realize that working outside the home or having evening activities planned for the kids makes it difficult for parents to prepare a balanced meal in the evening or to pack a healthy lunch box. Kids like Little Debbie cakes, potato chips and sweet cereal. As parents, though it is our responsibility to be parents even when it isn't convenient and that includes helping our children make the right food choices. I'm not popular with many of my friends when I get on this rant. I have many stay-at-home-mom friends who still do fast food, pizza and frozen/boxed dinners just because they don't want to cook. It isn't just working parents, so please don't think I'm picking on you. It's just that our children are paying attention to the choices we make even when they are very young.

My children are allowed to have anything they choose. They haven't missed out on the junk, however they prefer fresh food because that is all they knew as small children. I never bought baby food. I made my own. Today, I make my meals from scratch and I try not to use anything that is enriched, bleached or preserved. We aren't totally organic in our diet because it puts too much of a dent in the food budget.

With all of this said, I'll let you in on a huge secret. I despise cooking. I absolutely can't stand being tied to the kitchen for a certain amount of time morning, noon and night. I do it anyway. I do it so my children will learn to cook. I do it to set an example that hopefully will lead my children to make smart decisions about food. I do it because my family would starve if meals were left up to my husband. I do it because the June Cleaver and Aunt Bea in me know that the way to make my man happy is to string my neck with pearls, slide my feet into a pair of heels, strap on an apron and get busy in the kitchen.



***************************
Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Whoa.

You must be reeeeeeeaaaalllly old.

Walked 7 Miles To School?

In the snow? Uphill both ways?

:)

Anglico...you know you're older

I just have a better memory. LOL

Lance, I walked in the rain but only a mile each way. I lived in Charlotte, so we didn't go to school in the snow, silly.



***************************
Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.