Thursday the first of this month food stamps were released . I am a recipient of food stamps and without them would be lost as to how to feed my child. Even when I work full-time there is very little left over to help cover our grocery costs. As a recipient of this program I do not feel entitled to the states help I keep in the forefront of my mind that this is a temporary station in life and I try to use them responsibly. Being that I know they are released on the first I try my best to not shop on the first but the state of my pantry and refrigerator as pictured below…it was an absolute necessity that I go to the store on the first of the month…It was a crazy morning to be at Winco number one reason was because I literally had an entourage with me my ride to the store Frankie,(https://jennessjohnston78.wordpress.com/2013/01/27/i-did-it/) the lovely Abby, my cousin Ron and of course Lily bug. Yes that is 4 adults and 1 child at Winco on food stamps day…it was like a congested highway during 5 o’clock traffic. While I was there, as had been my experience many times, before I learned my lesson not to shop on the first I saw carts literally filled with, sugar filled cereal, processed food packages, the quickest and cheapest food items possible lining the carts and hardly a vegetable or fruit in sight. With the growing number of obese persons and children in our country it made me sad and a bit sick to my stomach to see this phenomenon.
A 2008-09 school year BMI assessment of Idaho students in all odd grades 1 through 11 found
that overall, 30.5%of Idaho school children sampled were classified as overweight or obese. The study found that significantly more boys were obese than girls.
Based on results of the 2011/12 Idaho 3rd Grade BMI Assessment and the 2011 Idaho Youth Risk Behavior Survey, there are an estimated 6,200 (29%) overweight or obese 3rd grade students and 17,700 (23%) overweight or obese high school students (grades 9 through 12) in Idaho.
U.S. medical costs associated with obesity were estimated at $147 billion. Annual medical costs for people who are obese were $1,429 higher than those of normal weight (CDC, 2008).
Due to the prevalence of chronic conditions often associated with obesity and the rising trend of obesity in children and youth, today’s generation of children will likely live shorter lives than their parents. (http://healthandwelfare.idaho.gov/Health/DiseasesConditions/OverweightObesity/tabid/177/Default.aspx)
As far as I am concerned this is child abuse…seriously we as parents control what we buy and what our children ingest. Why the hell would people purposefully disadvantage their children in this regard…I may be overweight and have bad habits but I am open honest and talk very frankly with Lily about what the dangers of being overweight are and I am trying my damnedest to provide her with the tools as to how to do it different than I have. One of the arguments is that it is too expensive to eat healthy. To highlight a specific area that people could save money on healthier items…studies are starting to show that because of the flash freezing process that we use to freeze veggies is helping to retain more of the health benefit of the vegetables in comparison to the fresh ones. Because of the fact that vegetables start losing nutrients very shortly after being picked so by the time they make it to our table they don’t have the benefits “fresh” that is available in the less expensive frozen counter parts. Food in general is expensive and I understand the thought behind the quickest and easiest thing to throw together after a long day at work…but lets look at it objectively. I will use my sad trip to the store as an example of why what we are feeding is not only disadvantaging them but literally killing them as exampled in the statistics above.
According to the Livestrong website (http://www.livestrong.com/article/256927-how-many-calories-should-a-child-be-eating/) children the age of my daughter 5, should be eating 1,200 to 1,400 calories a day…So when at Winco these are the items I saw in cart and I would like to break it down meal by meal with the items I say in people’s carts that are common to the American public…
Breakfast = Lucky Charms and 2% milk
LC 1cup 142 calories
2 % Milk 122 calories = meal totals= 264 calories, 26.3 grams of sugar, and 10.6 grams of protein.
Lunch=Gogurt, pb&j sandwich, chips and milk.
Gogurt 70 calories
PB & J 447 calories,
Chips 200 calories
Milk 122 calories= meal totals= 839 calories, 30.5 grams of sugar, and 24.3grams of protein
Dinner=Mac and Cheese with broccoli
Mac and Cheese= 207 calories
Broccoli- 52 calories meal total=259 calories, 4 grams of sugar, and 14.2 grams of p protein
Snacks = Pop tarts
Pop tarts= 410 calories, 33 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein
Daily totals equate too…
Grams of sugar= 77.5
Grams of protein= 47.4
Ok so that is 372 more calories than a child needs in a day ( not to mention that it is approximately 19 teaspoons of sugar if my calculations are right the recommended and or healthy amount per day of sugar is 12 grams)…it takes about 3500 calories more than your recommended daily intake to gain a pound so if you have a sedentary child that is overeating every day about every 9.4 days they are gaining a pound that is up to 3 pounds a month and in a year it could equate to 39 pounds!!!! Now this doesn’t take into account how many calories they are burning with daily activity and exercise but with the rising numbers of obesity in children, children are obviously not burning off the excess caloric intake. I am so alarmed at this!!!! Breaking down the actual numbers makes me heart-sick. People seriously come on do not kill the next generation before they even have a chance to make a mark on this world…what a broken system we have.
Couldn’t the state put a limit on what people can buy with governmental monies?? I mean if people want to eat crap shouldn’t they do it on their dime??? Over process, enriched, genetically modified food, high salt and fat content as well as high amounts of sugar in all this PROCESSED food is literally killing our children!!! Diabetes, behavior problems and rising numbers of chronic illnesses in children should say it all. Please love your kids enough to do what’s best for them not what’s easiest I understand being tired I understand not having money but aren’t your children more precious than say cigarettes, alcohol, and drugs that people find a way to get while living on food stamps?? I am not making a blanket statement that everyone who is on Food Stamps or assistance in general are drug addicts or completely irresponsible people at all! I am just trying to shed light on a subject that to me is disheartening enough that I felt compelled to speak what was on my heart and mind. I am not perfect and could use some improvement as well in this area for sure!! And for me the take away as a parent is I want every bite that goes into my little Lily bug to have a positive impact on her health…I am not saying that kids should never have “sometimes” food like sweets or a special cereal I think it is that we should be focusing on the overall health and wellness of the generation that will be leading our country sooner than we think!!! So much information is out there do research find out how to best serve your child and do not be ashamed to ask for help from your family doctor, a friend, family member or your local school nurse they may have valuable information that could help in the fight against the ever-growing waists of Idaho and America’s children. I hope I did not offend anyone this is not meant as a judgment just as a HOLY COW something needs to be done and I think education is one of the most effective ways to bring about change. ❤
Links to where I gathered information…