In a recent assessment, less than one-third of California school children passed the Department of Education's physical fitness test. To make matters worse, the percentage of kids who passed got smaller as the children got younger--implying that California's youth are getting less and less healthy as time goes on.
If children are our future, then that future is going to need a minute to catch its breath after walking up the stairs.
Author and healthy food activist Raj Patel stopped by California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom's Current TV chat show to advocate for the government stepping in to curb widespread marketing of junk food to kids.
"The purpose of advertising is what? To give us choices, to inform us as consumers," explained Patel. "But kids are not rational consumers, we understand that. That's why we don't let them drive, we don't let them vote, we don't let them carry guns...I'm an advocate of banning advertising to children not because I want the nanny state to rule, but because I want, as a parent, just a first chance of teaching my kids how to eat properly. For every dollar that's spent promoting for my kids to eat properly, five dollars are spent promoting junk food and that's not a fair fight."
Patel added banning unhealthy food from schools would also go a long way. "We need to be getting junk food out of schools and out of the environments in which kids move," he insisted. "If we're serious about kids growing up with healthy ideas about food, why are we poisoning them from childhood?"
The segment, which airs this Friday at 10 p.m. PST, is part of Current's special "Feeding the Need" campaign highlighting issues of hunger, under-nutrition and obesity affecting millions of Americans every year.