To date, the Iron Pol blog has been free of the rampant political discussion prevelant in my original blog, The Running Pol. The link is really just a courtesy, and another is to tell you that there hasn't been much done there in ages, as all my blogging happens here.
However, a recent e-mail from my sister is just too interesting to ignore. Since I am unaware of any specific screen names of theirs, they will be known as "my sister," "AM Girl," and "Fire Girl." For the record, AM Girl is the older of my sister's daughters, and Fire Girl is the younger. Both are several years older than B-Boy and Monster Girl.
My sister and her family live in the Chicago area, and school is just getting started. She sent a note about a policy adopted for the new year, a policy which just begs for people to mock it. In order to combat childhood obesity, the school has enacted a policy that their morning snack can be no more than 200 calories. Anything over that is to be confiscated. In addition, the only drink allowed is water.
As an example, my sister sent AM Girl to school with a pack of Nature Valley crunchy granola bars and some sugar free applesauce as a dip. That is 230 calories. To ensure AM Girl was drinking, my sister also gave her a Crystal Light To Go mixer for her water bottle. The teacher, obviously clueless about Crystal Light, demanded AM Girl produce a wrapper to prove it was sugar free.
To keep things in perspective, AM Girl eats breakfast at 6:30 a.m. and lunch is at 12:25. So, for six hours, presumably including at least a recess, she is allowed a staggering 200 calories. While she isn't running any marathons, that low a caloric intake would result in a deficit in all but the most inactive of children. You know, the ones who have to be reminded to swallow. And blink. And breathe.
It is, however, a good thing that this school system is keeping an eye on AM girl. Her height places her in the 95th percentile for her age. Her weight, 5th percentile. Without the school keeping an eye on her, she might balloon up to, oh, say, below average weight. School boards attempting to raise children are missing huge chunks of information, such as medical conditions that might make their sweeping generalizations more harmful than helpful.
Fire Girl lives under a simpler program. Her snacks are to be fruits or veggies. That makes a bit more sense. Apparently younger children can eat more without gaining weight. I wonder how that is? It must certainly be a metabolism thing, as the schools seem to believe caloric intake is the only factor affecting obesity.
This is why the government, which includes school boards and school systems, should not raise children. While there are a great many teachers I might welcome to ASSIST in the rearing of my children, legislators are missing the key component to effective parenting, contact with the child. And, at least in the Glen Grove school district in Chicago, they lack any foundation of scientific or physiologic knowledge.
Until they are capable of understanding the relationship between calories consumed and calories burned, they will be unable to have a reasonable impact on childrens' health. Perhaps they should pass a policy mandating the schools hire personal coaches to evaluate the needs of each individual child. They might find that some of the children should be consuming 2000 calorie snacks instead of a measley 200.
I guess that's enough political ranting. It's time for me to go consume my 400 calorie snack. Like my niece, a 200 calorie snack will only help assure I lose too much weight.