26 Dec, 2015

This Junk-Food-Funded Elementary School Curriculum Is Bonkers

MotherJones.com | Julia Lurie | 3 December 2015

Kids are learning that they can exercise away Big Macs and Pepsis. Scientists beg to differ.

At elementary schools nationwide, a health curriculum called Energy Balance 101 has taught millions of kids a seemingly simple concept: In order to stay fit, all we need to do is balance the food we eat with exercise. In the first lesson, elementary schoolers learn that anything and everything takes energy, from playing sports to doing homework. Teachers are instructed to ask how much you would need to eat or drink in order to “balance shooting baskets for 30 minutes.” Calories in, calories out.

Sensible enough, right? But there’s something odd about the curriculum: Not once does it suggest ditching junk food—in fact, the lesson plan explicitly says, “There are no good foods or bad foods!”

This approach isn’t surprising when you consider the source. The class is part of Together Counts, an educational campaign promoting energy balance that is wholly funded by a group called the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation—which is in turn run and bankrolled by junk food corporations. Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo, is the chair of the board, and directors include the CEOs of Kellogg, Hershey, Nestle USA, Coca-Cola, Unilever, Smucker, and General Mills. The organization’s mission, according to tax filings, is “to help families and schools reduce obesity—especially childhood obesity.”

activematters comment: The list of sponsors also appear in Change4Life and Eat like a Champ (which is a Danone) initiative..