Healthy habits for the whole family
Preventing childhood obesity is a whole-family issue, say the experts at British Columbia Medical Association's Eat Well, Play Well, Stay Well project. "Only in exceptional cases is a weight loss program recommended," says Dr. Wilma Arruda, chairwoman of the project. Low-fat diets can detrimentally restrict a child's intake of essential fatty acids and fat-soluble vitamins, while a low-carb diet provides insufficient glucose to fuel a child's day at school. Instead of dieting, the BCMA project recommends that parents model healthy eating through their own food choices and portion sizes, and by eliminating junk food from the household and replacing it with healthy snacks. For more information and healthy-living tips to provide to customers, go to www.bcma.org/healthykids.
Is eating ethically as important as eating organically? It is, if you ask Princeton University philosophy professor Peter Singer and attorney Jim Mason, authors of The Way We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter (Rodale Books, 2006). The book examines the eating habits of three American families—one that's vegan, one that eats meat and one that eats according to "green" principles. The authors ate and shopped with these families and tracked all the foods they purchased—including meals out. They then tried to trace the foods back to the farms and factories where they originated.
In writing the book, the authors uncovered duplicitous corporate behavior, inhumane animal treatment, appalling labor practices and environmental abuses. Publishers Weekly calls the book "a no-holds-barred treatise on ethical consumption," and says, "this is an important read for those concerned with the long, frightening trip between farm and plate."
Kids' food goes ka-ching
The market for kids' foods and beverages—defined by its packaging, formulation, marketing or all three—totaled $15.1 billion in 2006, according to Packaged Facts, a Rockville, Md.-based market research company. Within this market, 40 percent, or just a little more than $6 billion of the products, can be described as having some better-for-you element, the group says. Packaged Facts estimates that sales of kids' food and beverages will grow 11.5 percent annually, to $26.8 billion in 2011, with much of that growth expected in foods targeted to 3- to 11-year-olds. Convenience, portability and single-servings are contributing to the expansion of the category, as are new rules in schools limiting junk foods and beverages.
Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXVIII/number 3/p. 40