Healthy Snacking Revolution

    Dear Yeshiva Administration,
    Our hearts overflow with gratitude as we ponder how much care and effort the Yeshiva Administration puts into ensuring our precious kinderlach receive all what they need to develop their potential and become true Bnei Torah. We appreciate that Yeshiva always strives to provide our kinderlach with not only excellent geshmake learning experience but also with nourishing meals and some time for physical exercises. As Rambam says inמשנה תורה, הלכות דעות, פרק רביעי - the body of a person should be healthy in order to serve Hashem Yisborach… and a person should stay away from things and foods that are harmful to the body – "הואיל והיות הגוף בריא ושלם מדרכי י"י הוא, שהרי אי אפשר שיבין או ידע והוא חולה, צריך אדם להרחיק עצמו מדברים המאבדין את הגוף ולהנהיג עצמו בדברים המברים המחלימים"
    As per Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in the USA the prevalence of obesity in children and adolescents aged 2-19 years old in year 2018 was 19.3%, which means nearly 1 out of every 5 children is affected. This number is rising every year! In 1978 the prevalence of childhood obesity in USA was only 5%, in 2016 it was 18.5%... Obesity (overeating of unhealthy fatty or sugary foods) leads to damage of all body organs. It leads to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, increased risk of type 2 diabetes, heart attacks, strokes. It also leads to breathing problems, joint problems, fatty liver disease, gallstones, heartburn. Childhood obesity is also related to low self-esteem and psychological problems such as anxiety and depression.
    Childhood obesity is PREVENTABLE. We must take steps to prevent childhood obesity and its serious health-related consequences. Since the weight of a child is directly correlated with the number of calories he consumes, the way to prevent obesity is to reduce the number of daily calories by limiting unhealthy fatty snacks and sugary treats.
    Unhealthy snacking is a major issue because the current standard is to have a snack at every recess. Most children demand from their parents unhealthy snack bags due to peer pressure, so even those parents who are aware of the dangers inherent in unhealthy snacks are forced to give in. The solution to this challenge is for the Yeshiva to provide healthy snacks to all students. Examples of healthy snacks (low in calories but high in antioxidants and fiber) include light pop-corn, whole wheat crackers with guacamole, chick peas, baby carrots with hummus, apples or unsweetened apple sauce, bananas, mandarins, raisins, dates. The Yeshiva Administration would also need to enforce that outside snacks are not allowed to be brought.
    Excess of sugary treats also leads to excess of daily calories, which causes obesity. As per American Heart Association, children and teens should limit their added sugars to less than 6 teaspoons (6x4g/tsp=24g) per day and no more than 8oz of sugary beverages per week. If Rebbi must give out sugary treats every day, then limiting to smaller size candies such as organic jellybeans instead of laffy taffies can decrease the number of calories. 10 small jellybeans contain 8g of sugar, while 1 small laffy taffy contains 5g of sugar.
    We understand that the suggested changes may present a financial challenge to the Yeshiva; however, we are ready to commit to continuously raise the funds for this endeavor.

    Sora Vysotski, Doctor of Pharmacy, Board Certified Pharmacotherapy Specialist
    and the undersigned Parents
    There are 2 more very important issues that we would like to bring to the attention of the Yeshiva Administration: dangers of processed meat and artificial food coloring.
    In 2015, International Agency on Cancer Research classified processed meat including deli and hot dogs as “carcinogenic” to humans due to sufficient evidence that its consumption increases risk of colorectal cancer. We acknowledge that the Yeshiva serves hot dogs very rarely, but it would be praise-worthy to lead by example and completely remove all processed meat from the Yeshiva menu.
    Artificial food colors are banned in United Kingdom and require warning labels regarding adverse effect on children’s behavior in European Union – due to the randomized clinical studies proving the causation. Prevalence of ADHD in USA is growing each year: 6.5% in 2000, 10.2% in 2015… However, in UK and Europe, it is twice less: 3-5% in 2013. Currently, there are PLENTY of sugary treats available on the market that avoid artificial food colors and use natural food colors. They may be somewhat more expensive, but isn’t it worth it to pay extra for our children’s wellbeing?
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