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Renna W. Pye: Place priority on children's healthy eating

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Place priority on children’s healthy eating habits

Thankfully, there is plenty of great research and information available about the benefits of a healthy diet, which includes plenty of vegetables, fruits and other “whole” unprocessed foods.

Current recommendations suggest limiting sugar intake to around 25 grams per day for an adult, as there is no dietary need for sugar — indeed, studies link sugar and other processed foods to obesity, diabetes and many other diseases. We also know that our lasting eating habits, good or bad, are developed in youth.

So, I was mystified to learn that JFK Middle School is now selling junk food to the kids in the cafeteria (“JFK parents take issue with new snack options,” May 17). The school’s website lists the offerings at http://www.northamptonschools.org/project/food-services/.

The fact that some of these claim to be “healthier” versions of junk food does not change the fact that they are junk food. The Nutri-Grain bars have 12 grams of sugar, the crispy squares have 15 grams of sugar and even the yogurt has 15 grams of sugar. Cheetos and Lays, baked or not, are devoid of nutritional value and offer 200 milligrams of sodium.

And, yes, water is great, but is bottled water in single use disposable plastic bottles a good habit for our kids and for the world? I don’t think so.

Let’s teach our kids to eat good quantities of healthy, satisfying whole food, then when lunch is over, go out and play, or study, rather than line up for junk.

Surely the school can find ways to raise revenue that won’t be at the expense of our children’s health. Evidently the school committee was not consulted on this venture.

I hope it is not too late to take a second look at it, and place a priority on our children’s healthy eating habits.

Renna W. Pye, M.D.

Northampton

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