I recently came across this article on NPR and it really struck a nerve with me.
If you don’t want to click on the link and read it, basically the article talks about school districts that are banning bake sales in order to fight the obesity epidemic. I have so many thoughts on this I’m not even sure I can organize them in one place, but here goes:
Do we have an obesity epidemic in the US? Yes. This much is obvious. Adults, and more alarmingly, children are becoming so obese that health officials have gone into panic mode trying to figure out where we’ve all gone wrong.
Are baked goods healthy for you? Well, no, obviously. Baked goods, many filled with added sugar and high calorie counts, are not (and will never be) health food. Any nutritionist, RD, or health nut that you talk to will advise limiting intake of sweets, baked goods, etc. But the key word here is limit. Unless you have a medical intolerance to ingredients in these foods, is it really necessary to ban them?
Are bake sales the reason why US children are so overweight? I’m going to go ahead and say No to this one. Sure, as stated above, baked goods are certainly not health food. But isn’t it the parents responsibility to help children live a well balanced life? And doesn’t a well balanced life involve nutritious eating, exercise, andthe occasional treat?
Feel free to disagree with me (as I’m sure many people will), but since when does buying a cookie at a bake sale make someone overweight? Teaching children that treats are treats, and that they are OK in moderation, is important, in my book. Banning the occasional indulgence and treating them as “bad” or “evil” foods will only fuel the fire for children to want these things more.
(Take, for instance, the lack of Toaster Struedels in my house as a child. Do you know how badly I wanted those things and how I would FEAST on them at friends houses who had them?)
Another point that I feel is worth stating is the fact that most things at bake sales are home made, with real ingredients and without preservatives/chemicals. Ban bake sales, and children are still going to eat cookies/sweets, but they’ll be eating the ones from 7/11 that are so filled with chemicals they can hardly even be called food any more. Granted, I don’t have any children yet, but I am pretty sure that when I do have them, I would much rather them eat a cookie that a fellow “bake-sale mom” made, than a store-bought creation. Call me crazy.
All in all, I just don’t think that banning bake sales is necessary, nor do I think that it will lead to a healthier America. Not to mention the amount of money that many of these bake sales raise — money that can go towards sports equipment, educational materials, etc. for those school districts that don’t quite have enough cash flow.
Bottom line: Bake sales are not making kids fat. Society is making kids fat. Don’t you think they had bake sales 50 years ago when there was no obesity epidemic? I’m pretty sure June Cleaver made her fair share of cookies and her fictional kiddos were just fine. Just saying.
What do you all think about this? Do you think that bake sales should be banned?