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The obesity crisis: Why we need food education in our schools

Updated on September 19, 2012

Is the government tackling the problem from the wrong angle?

For decades bake sales have been a vital source of income for youth organizations, churches, foundations, sports events and numerous other fundraisers. Bake sales have been around for as long as I remember and are still a tradition in many countries all over the world. As a child growing up in Switzerland I fondly remember these sweet events. An abundance of tasty home-made goodies was waiting to feed our hungry tummies. A small fee opened the gate to dessert heaven. The bakers were proudly watching over their wares, as if they had entered a competition. Nobody wanted to end up taking half a cake home. It was a matter of pride. They made sure that they only brought the best. Rich, creamy, gooey, heavenly stuff. Did we get fat or die of e coli poisoning? Nope!

Lately, bake sales have gotten a bad rap. All of a sudden health inspectors fear that deadly viruses could be spread among the population. Terrorists invading our country disguised as bakers? How can they ensure that hobby bakers apply the necessary food safety rules? Apart from spreading food borne diseases, there’s an increasing danger of allergy related health risks. After all, who knows what’s in these muffins?

Let's be realistic: How many moms would willingly expose their kids to e coli and other hazards? How many people have actually gotten sick from bake sales? Also, I’m pretty sure that a person suffering from allergies will avoid bake sales like the plague. So who do we actually try to protect here?

Who is to blame for the obesity crisis?

Of course the latest in a long list of arguments and probably the most valid one is the obesity crisis. The world’s population is getting increasingly fat and therefore all evil stuff should be banned, including – of course – our bake sales. So here comes my million dollar question: How many bake sales are our kids exposed to in a year? Now on the other hand, how many chocolate bars, sodas, chips, candies, ice creams etc. do they get at home every day? Isn’t this maybe the reason why obesity is on the rise? I’m not even mentioning the frequent visits to fast-food restaurants or the exposure to highly processed convenience food.

I don’t think obesity starts with bake sales in our schools, it actually starts in our homes. But how do we teach ignorant parents about healthy eating? I suggest that we tackle the problem by the roots: By educating the children from an early age we can also reach out to the parents. Food and cooking lessons as well as budgeting should be a vital part of our modern school system. If young kids learn to analyze food labels at school they will start making healthy food choices for the whole family. After all which mother wants to be told that her microwave pizza is junk food?


Why do we need food education in our schools

A Bronx school has recognized this years ago and successfully implemented food education into their curriculum. The kids are not only learning to cook healthy meals in their cafeteria, they are also taught how to grow their own food and to eat sustainably. The “Sylvia Center in the Classroom” program is inspiring kids to take healthy eating habits home to their families.

How to plan your next bake sale

If you want to make sure that your next bake sale doesn't get axed, please supply your bakers with healthy baking recipes and food safety tips.

If you still think that bake sales should be banned, here’s another idea for raising funds: Kids can cook a healthy meal at school for their family and sell tickets for that.

Rather than blame storming we should be brainstorming.


Obesity is our responsibility and not the government’s!

Do you think cake sales should be banned?

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What do you think about the Bronx food education program?

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    • novascotiamiss profile image

      novascotiamiss 5 years ago from Nova Scotia, Canada

      That Grrl: I can't believe what you are telling me. Stopping a gym class is like encouraging kids to get inactive and obese. This school should get reported. I wonder if they also stop teaching maths and other things just because some kids are not doing as well as others.... Do the kids parents actually support the schools decision?

    • That Grrl profile image

      Laura Brown 5 years ago from Barrie, Ontario, Canada

      At my nephew's school they stopped having gym class because not all the kids were doing well in athletics. The everybody has to win theory. Talking to kids about nutrition will only go so far. Keeping them active was a better thing.

    • novascotiamiss profile image

      novascotiamiss 5 years ago from Nova Scotia, Canada

      Pamela & Sadie. Thanks for your comments, I'm glad you both agree with me.

    • sadie423 profile image

      sadie423 5 years ago from North Carolina

      I don't like the idea of government involvement in things. If they ban bake sales, they should shut down all the factories that manufacture the junkfood and fast food. It does start at home. And educating both parents and kids on healthy choices.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 5 years ago from United States

      I agree that obesity starts in the home. You don't give 3 year olds a glass of coke and potato chips. If you give children fruit for snacks and keep junk food out of the house, that is what they will like. It doesn't mean you don't have a birthday cake or healthy desserts. I don't like the idea of the government telling us what we can eat and drink. Excellent hub.