Face it: As a nation, we're fat and it's killing us. Over the past few decades, changes in the way Americans live, work and eat have made obesity a preventable cause of death that is second only to smoking. While parents, teachers, doctors, lawyers and government agencies have all gone to great pains to educate, legislate, forbid and otherwise appropriately demonize smoking, by bad example, ignorance and neglect on the subject of nutrition and exercise, we are raising a generation of children who are not expected to live as long as their parents.
At the start of 2005, Albuquerque Public Schools began a five-month Wellness Pilot Project. For students at 18 elementary and middle schools involved in the program, the most obvious change will be the snacks sold in vending machines and the hours during which the machines will be available. Elementary school vending machines will only dispense bottled water during the school day. In middle schools, Pepsi's vending machines are limited to water and juice and milk beverages. In all participating schools, vending machine snacks must comply with new nutrition standards—meaning kids will choose from things like pretzels and granola bars rather than tortilla chips and cookies.
There are many issues, besides food in schools, that the Legislature is tacking during this session. Legislators want to know what you think, what will make you happy and what will make you re-elect them. So call early and often.