Surprising but Welcomed
Just when it seems that most people are disregarding the governmental recommendations for health and nutrition, we read of a recent development in the schools of the state of Texas. New dietary rules begin August 24, 2009, the first day of classes.
Most of us know that the nutritional choices of most Americans are deplorable. While television, radio, newspapers, and magazines continually warn of the health crisis in this country, it seems that most children and adults ignore facts that are beyond dispute. Today, two-thirds of the American public are either overweight or obese! You read correctly: Two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese!
The outcome is disastrous in terms of personal health and suffering, as well as financial loss. Poor diet brings too many pounds (a lack of exercise also contributes to the problem), and being overweight brings a wide range of health issues: heart disease, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, macular degeneration, and the list goes on. It is hard to calculate by way of suffering, premature death, and cost the result of bad dietary choices!
But now Texas is trying to do something about the epidemic of obese and overweight school children. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram outlines the requirements of the public policy: No Texas school is permitted to provide students with access to foods of minimal nutrition value during the regular class time. This includes carbonated beverages, water ices or frozen sweetened waters such as Popsicles, chewing gum and candy. Sodas will be allowed in vending machines that will only be operative after school hours. No frying may be used in food preparation on campuses during the school day.
The article continues: Sodas, deep-fried burritos and greasy Tater Tots arent on the menu. Todays typical school lunch choices feature whole grains, fruits and vegetables. And foods are baked rather than fried. At last there seems to be a level of rational thought and good sense in the food choices in the state schools!
Jackie Anderson, Arlington school districts director of food and nutrition, explains: We feel that through good nutrition we will improve their health and well-being and improve the performance at school. Lena Harris-Wilson, child nutrition services director for the Fort Worth district, says, Were trying to teach nutrition. Laura Stegall, Principal of Monning Middle School in Fort Worth, says that forbidding the use of vending machines is good: It helps them with a healthy diet. Arlington Heights High School offers yogurt and fruit to the teachers on their training days. Principal Neta Alexander said that formerly they often had doughnuts!
We do find these requirements to be a positive step toward teaching children the importance of good nutrition in the quest for good health later in life. Maybe we have all been surprised but gratified that society at large has generally become negative to the use of tobacco. Over the years, fewer and fewer people take up the filthy and destructive addiction, with the result that millions are surviving many more years than the average smoker will. Again, surprisingly, these new food rules came at a time when least expected. But the results should be just as positive as quitting smoking.
We are not so naïve to think that this will wipe out unhealthy eating in Texas. Many and probably most citizens will continue to eat their sugar-laden, fat-filled, sodium-enhanced, depleted food fare. Many students will leave school and stop at MacDonalds or Whataburger and get their French Fries, their hamburgers, and their soft drinks. At home, many will continue to fill their stomachs with health-destructive non-foods. But at least this is a step in a good direction.
We would encourage all of our readers to study the subject of good nutrition to the extent that you can see the value of eating well. This will include the elimination of high-fat foods, high-sodium foods, high-protein foods, high-cholesterol foods, highly-processed foods, high-sugar foods, and anything else that will destroy our physical bodies. And it will include the emphasis on vegetables, fruit, whole grains, high-fiber foods, and minimally-processed foods.
If you are a Christian, you have a special need to eat nutritiously. Many professing Christians eat just as poorly as do their unbelieving neighbors. They seem to live as though God has no say in the matter of good health! They think in a secular and flesh-satisfying way rather than a Scriptural way. In fact, Scripture does have principles that directly relate to our health! We do not own our body (1 Corinthians 10:24), and we are to glorify God in our body (1 Corinthians 6:20). Whether we eat or drink, we are to do so for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31). Our body is to be given as a living sacrifice to God (Romans 12:1). If we take such scriptures as these (and ones like them) seriously, we all should treat our body with respect and be interested in nutrition and good health.