Shaq O'Neal (NBA) is running around New York City talking about how committed he is to helping families struggling to deal with their fight against childhood obesity. I have not watched his television show, "Shaq's Big Challenge," but I will try and make an effort to check it out now that I've been made aware of what it is all about.
NYC Mayor Blommberg created a press release with Mr. O'Neal to launch the new food initiatives (I hear it's the first in the nation) so I guess I'll point you in the direction of http://www.ShaqsFamilyChallenge.com and also provide a link to the official NYC press release here.
The News from the Blue Room Press Release (PR- 365-08) is dated September 19, 2008 and talks about launching the first formal food standards for New York City. Here is the quote that inspired me to blog: "New York City is the first major city in the country to set nutrition standards for all foods purchased or served. The new standards, pursuant to an executive order, apply to snacks and meals served in places such as schools, senior centers, homeless shelters, child care centers, after school programs, correctional facilities, public hospitals and parks. The standards require City agencies to serve only healthier beverages such as skim or 1 percent milk (with exceptions for babies), phase out deep frying, include two servings of fruits and vegetables in every lunch and dinner, lower salt content and increase the amount of fiber in meals."
Sounds like an excellent plan. Since my boys are in school that makes me feel better about what they may be eating in the future, but I have to admit it also makes me wonder what they are eating now. After all, they did say this is "new." Hmm...
Kudos and Congrats to Mayor Bloomberg for demanding the improvements. I'm looking forward to seeing what type of menus they come up with in the future to replace the menus they currently use now. I wish someone had taken the bull by the horns years ago when I was going to school and when I worked for the NYCDOC and was stuck eating institutional food on Riker's Island. It would have been really nice to have been served a better quality meal. I do remember plenty of days where I decided not to eat at all because I did not like what was being served or was stuck for mandatory overtime and could not leave. Better late than never I guess... After all, a healthier diet will cut down on some government health care costs if people are not aggravating their preexisting conditions or making themselves sick in other unhealthy ways. I think it's a wise move that may bring multiple benefits all around.
I wonder what they will be serving... I bet those debates will be very interesting to a fly on the wall.
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