A few folks have already posed some interesting questions regarding the announcement that $2 million USD has recently been dropped in San Antonio so that schools can take photos of every child’s lunch before and after eating. Reports of these pictures will then be sent to parents. This is all in an effort to reduce, of course, obesity and diabetes risk.
What I want to pose here as this program gets underway with nearly 90% parent approval (of a measure which assumes THEY are just simply not aware of how poorly their children are eating, something which this act of photographic evidence provision shall magically cure, thereby….solving fatness??), is what happens when it is discovered that kids, fat or thin, are pretty much eating the same way?
Even in the article extolling the virtues of such a bold initiative, there is a tag-line that:
Researchers warn that obesity is not always the result of children eating too many calories. A previous study by the nonprofit center reported that 44 percent of children studied consumed calories below daily minimum requirements, but nearly one-third were still obese. Seven percent screened positive for type 2 diabetes.
Despite a study already done which showed that nearly HALF of kids don’t eat ENOUGH, this measure to track calories in order to somehow catch fatties in the act is somehow supposed to reduce obesity?? They try to assure us that this program is “just for tracking”; that kids aren’t being informed of what to eat:
“Nothing in the program says they can’t have something,” Davis said. “It just says we’re tracking what it is.”
But what sort of message is it going to start sending to children to know that they are always being watched? Analyzed? Found lacking in decision-making somehow (or worrying that this might be the case)?
I also wonder how long it is before kids start screwing with the program by swapping out what they have “leftover” on their bar-coded trays with their friends and neighbors. I see a fairly simple means of kids and teens fighting against this invasion of privacy and wonder how it will play out on their end.
My thought is that after these metrics start coming in and confirming what this study already showed, it will then be an outcry against parents as officials in the school wag their fingers saying “Ah ha! Kids aren’t doing it HERE. Must be you damn fatty parents making your poor kids fat!”
Personally I’d rather that such a large bucket of funding be spent to increase availability of great food choices, improve the local area outdoor spaces (or indoor spaces) for recreation, provide options for healthier living, without the focus on Fat=>unhealthy, giving goals instead of moving around a lot and offering food options that keep eating a pleasure and an energy-giver, rather than making food and exercise into battlegrounds.
It is initiatives like this that really make me wonder about my thoughts of trying to have a child, knowing it has a good chance of being genetically tied to my own body-shape and have a hell of a time with that.
How does this program strike you? Will it just flop? Will Michelle Obama just use its results to encourage others to follow suit, perhaps even adding (as Big Liberty pondered) student’s BMIs to the process? Will this become a true 1984 George Orwellian world wherein your tray rejects or allows certain foods based upon your BMI upon picking it up? Or will this just be swept under the carpet when the results show that kids are doing the best they can, fat or thin, and their school eating habits really don’t vary that much from one size/shape to another?