TV report finds schools reconsidering ban on junk food as students buy it anyway

December 19, 2011
Health Snacking
Schools face dilemma in junk food ban
‘Sweet Dilemma,’ from ‘Today’ show

Seven years ago, Seattle schools banned unhealthful food from their vending machines. Candy bars, chips and soda once earned the schools more than $200,000 per year, but the water, juice and baked chips that now fill the vending machines brought in only $17,000 this year. Now school officials are reconsidering the ban, according to a report on “Today.” For students, the ban makes no sense. One of them, Alex Franke, told the NBC show, “If we can go five minutes away from school and get candy, it’s not like they’re preventing us from having it; they’re just making it harder to obtain.” But nutritionist Kerri Glassman sees it very differently: “I don’t think it can be an option to go backwards and now create revenue from unhealthy food items for children.” The students say they don’t want to bring back “the bad stuff,” but would like more-appealing options, such as vitamin water, granola bars and hummus. The report, touching on issues affecting many school systems, is available online at today.msnbc.msn.com/id/26184891/vp/45651810#45651810.

Aging and Eating
Gluten-free isn’t just for starlets
Living Without, December/January

A gluten-free diet may be the latest Hollywood health trend, but for some senior citizens it can be a necessity, according to the magazine’s “Senior Celiacs” article. Gladys Glenn, 66, suffered from constant bloating and constipation, so she did some research and asked to be tested for celiac disease, which is usually diagnosed in children. When she tested positive, Glenn’s doctor prescribed a gluten-free diet, which gradually alleviated most of her discomfort. According to Daniel Leffler of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, “No matter the age celiac disease is diagnosed, the gluten-free diet is an effective treatment.” It can be hard to break long-established eating habits, according to the article, especially for those living in retirement or nursing homes. Celiac sufferers preparing for a move to such an institution may want to plan ahead. Ronni Alicea, a dietitian specializing in gluten-free diets in health-care facilities, suggests meeting with dining directors from several retirement facilities to ensure they will address the dietary concerns of people with the disease. According to Alicea, research suggests that about 1 percent of the U.S. population has celiac disease, or about 400,000 adults older than 60, and those numbers are likely to grow.

Whitney Fetterhoff

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