Get Yourself Moving!™

Thoughts on improving fitness, nutrition and learning for children and adults alike

Less is more, or… going for what’s first, easy & cheap

Coca-Cola & McDonalds Are Afraid of You | Health Habits.

It may appear that the purveyors of sweet sodas and cheap eats are running scared! (They should run with GYMB4 – they’d get more exercise that way :))

After all the screaming to the hilltops about childhood obesity and the health of our families, these companies are reducing the sizes/portions and some of the cost of their offerings. Soda companies are volunteering to remove sweetened beverages from vending machines in high schools (I saw a Pepsi truck removing one of their machines from our local high school just this morning).

But let’s take a step back and look at this for a minute. These “Fat Cats” (as many call the mega corporations who make and sell cheap but unhealthy sweet sodas and cheap but unhealthy eats) are taking the same bad stuff, putting less of it in a smaller package, dropping the price a few pennies and offering to not sell it in schools. And they call that being concerned about the health of our children?

That’s like putting fewer cigarettes in a pack, cutting the price and saying that now you’re selling cigarettes that are healthier for you! C’mon! This isn’t healthy; it’s just the “light” cigarette repackaged!

What the Fat Cats are really doing is trying to pull a marketing and public relations coup. They’re riding on the coattails of media exposure to the childhood obesity epidemic to win some quick PR points with the media… oh, and introduce some new products in the process.

And with these new, lower priced offerings, they are even more attractive to kids and cash-strapped parents. Think about this: A family used to buying a 12-pack of 12-ounce cans of Coke for $4.99 could easily now go for two 6-packs of 7.5 ounce cans for $3.99 each (these were real prices in a Washington, D.C. Safeway store). By going for the smaller cans, they’d think they’re doing something healthy, but they’re not.

Instead, that family just paid $7.98 for 90 ounces (8.9 cents per ounce) of the same bad stuff they used to pay less than 3.5 ounces for – more than twice the price! So not only are they doling out the same obesity-causing soda, they’re trying to double their profits in the process! And because people too often treat sodas like water – drinking them whenever they’re thirsty – having smaller can won’t likely reduce the number of cans they consume. For some, it may even increase consumption while they think they’re being healthier.

If we’re going to reverse childhood obesity, REALLY reverse it, we need to think hard about what we put in our bodies, and what we let our children put in our bodies. Ninety calories derived from a 7.5 ounce mini can of soda is NOT the same as 90 calories derived from milk, or broccoli, or an apple. Same amount of calories – different effects on the body. We need to THINK. We need to READ. We need to GET OURSELVES MOVING and not buy what’s first, or what’s easy, or what’s cheap (because that’s what the Fat Cats have done – set it up so their stuff is first in the store, easy to get because it’s everywhere we turn, and cheap because it’s made with cheap stuff that keeps their profit margins up).

I dare you to go for one week without soda (including diet). Or try going one week without fast food (for some people, I know it’d be asking too much to do both the same week). You’ll start noticing how many places you turn where you can grab a burger & fries (but not a meal without high sodium and fat). You’ll start realizing that you can practically fall down anywhere you’re standing and get a soda (but a water fountain will be hard to find). You may also start looking around at other people and seeing how many of them are just giving in to what’s first, easy & cheap.

Wed, May 5 2010 » Healthy Schools, Reversing Childhood Obsesity

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