20 May 2008

Right, that old nutrition stuff

I’ve been known to be very tough on Walt Disney World for its nutritional elements, or rather the lack elements such as nutritional information and the lack of a nutritional theme as was once visible inside of the Wonders of Life pavilion in Epcot. My belief that these components are ingrained in the ability to have a healthier and happier population are still firm, but I also thought I should take a look at the other side, at what Walt Disney World is doing right.

The menu options for the children’s menus have improved over the years. When I was a child growing up at Walt Disney World, you received a side of fries and a soda for a drink. No side items include grapes, carrot sticks, applesauce, or fruit punch gelatin and to wash it all down the choices include 1% Mickey Milk, small bottled water, or apple juice box, the occasional restaurant also offers 1% chocolate milk. French fries and soda are still available, upon request, which means a lot of the decision about what options are available for children, especially those young enough to not be able to read the menus, falls squarely on the shoulders of each child’s parents. I am not bold, or stupid, enough to try and tell everyone how to raise their children, because each parental unit knows what is best for their child. It is for these same reasons that I do not eavesdrop on parents ordering at restaurants, this is not place and it is none of my well-meaning business.

Along with healthier options for side items and drinks, the content of entrees has also increased. Chicken nuggets and burgers still have their haunts, but now we are starting to see selections like Baked Chicken Wings, Pork Egg Roll, Sweet and Sour Chicken, Turkey Pinwheels, Beijing Barbecue Drumstick, and Mixed Greens Salad with Chicken.

This is all well and good, but it still places the responsibility on parents, parents who may feel like there is no one and nothing there to assist them. That is where the Healthy Youth for a Healthy Future program, started by the Surgeon General , comes in. Not only does it have resources for parents, there are also tools for teachers, schools, and communities. And since we are all part of the Disney community, we are all accountable to one another and our children. I ask that each of you take a few minutes to see what you can do. There is even a pledge:
I pledge to:
Be a role model by making healthy choices for myself.
Help children be physically active through everyday play and participation in sports.
Support children’s healthy eating habits.

A healthy future is our gift to our children.

Think the Surgeon General has nothing to do with Disney? Think again, Walt Disney World was just recognized with the Surgeon General’s Champion Award for their effort to create and maintain a healthier future. Acting U.S. Surgeon General Rear Admiral Steven K. Galson, M.D., M.P.H. said, "I salute The Walt Disney Company for making wellness a priority for vacationers and their employees."


DD said...

Inspired? ;)

I am in total agreement. Children are suffering from obesity at their parent's hands. We need to step up and encourage one another to eat & live a more healthy life.

Princess Fee said...

Far too often we look at what Disney is doing wrong in the parks and overlook what they are doing right. A great post, Ryan! Every little helps, for children as well as adults.