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Children in elementary schools all over the nation are following a 3rd to 5th-grade health curriculum called, Energy Balance 101, part of Together Counts, funded by Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation. The Healthy Weight Foundation has some very familiar CEO’s funding the program from companies including PepsiCo, Kellogg, Hershey, Nestle, Coca-Cola, Unilever, Smucker and General Mills.
Questions about the curriculum have come up in a recent article, as the educational materials do not point out the need to eat healthy foods, but instead encourages kids that they can eat whatever they like, as long as they “balance” their food choices with exercise.
Unfortunately, many Latino kids are already dealing with obesity and possible health risks like pre-diabetes. Kids need information about eating fresh nutritious foods and exercising, especially when junk-foods often carry no nutritional value. The slogan of “calories in, calories out” or “balance” has also been referred to in Coke-funded research with the Mixify campaign. Mixify tells kids a similar message but ignores the fact that soda consumption has been heavily linked to diabetes, obesity, and other health issues.
In fact, studies show kids risks of becoming an obese adult rise to 60 percent for every extra sugary drink. Unfortunately, studies show that Latino kids ages 0-5 consume more sugary drinks than their peers, making them at risk of unhealthy food and beverage consumption before they even enter elementary school.
Having mixed information about what is “healthy” and what is”nutritious” for kids through school and afterschool activities may confuse them on what is needed to obtain a healthy weight and lifestyle.
To learn more about how healthier school and food environments can help Latino kids health, click here.