Jun 22, 2010

Fundraising by Selling Sweet, High-Fat Foods Is a Problem!

I just came across the excellent and well-written report "Sweet Deals: School Fundraising Can Be Healthy and Profitable," by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (and authored by Joy Johanson and Margo G. Wootan).

Wow! It's a couple years old (2007), but given how many kids selling cookies and candies on behalf of their club, team, or school still cross my path, remains highly relevant. And the report doesn't pull any punches, making the case that, "Given rising obesity rates and children's poor diets (only 2% of American children eat a healthy diet), it is no longer acceptable to sell junk food to children through school fundraisers."

I would even take it a step further and say it's not acceptable to sell this stuff to anyone. Although adults are held more responsible for their actions, the statistics are equally dire: Around one third of the U.S. population is classified as not merely overweight, but obese. And the U.S. Centers for Disease Control says that obesity increases the risk of a whole host of health troubles, such as coronary heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, many cancers, hyptertension, high cholesterol, stroke, and so on.

Even people who keep their weight down can, through poor dietary habits, put themselves at risk for a number of diseases, such as cancer, bone loss, anemia, and more.

Having a child selling candy -- and candy for a good cause, no less -- is just an unfair way to tempt an already-unhealthy populace. There are alternatives, as the report describes -- granola bars, fruit, and non-food sales items. Hopefully with a little creativity, the nonprofit community will come up with even more healthy options.