I was watching the evening news Tuesday and tucked within the major news of the day was the debate on chocolate milk in schools. On one side, a nutritionist compared chocolate milk to soda in nutritional value. Her comments and belief that milk was just a different version of a sugar-loaded beverage and other similar points in the piece caused me to pause. She also blamed milk as a part of the health problems in children. Really? Chocolate milk is the cause of children being obese? As a mom, I would think it would be safe to say that chocolate milk has not caused as much obesity as many other lifestyle issues have.
At the Eisenhower building next to the White House on Monday, Sam Kass, assistant White House chef commended the values of the “Fuel up to Play 60” program organized by the dairy checkoff programs. He said the program’s core function of empowering school children to make healthy choices makes healthy lifestyles “cool.” And at the core of that program is three servings a day of dairy products, along with other healthy diet choices, and playing 60 minutes per day.
I have two children and I am a firm believer that it is my responsibility to teach my children how to eat healthy. I also push my kids outside to play. On average, children do not get as much needed physical activity that they did a generation ago. They also spend an increased number of hours in front of screens – television, computer and handheld electronics.
In the news piece, a second nutritionist said there are bigger issues that needs to be addressed in school lunches than chocolate milk, such as processed foods. She said that while chocolate milk has sugar in it, at least there is nutritional value to milk. I have to agree. What do you think?
-- Charlene Shupp Espenshade, Special Sections Editor