Wednesday, May 15, 2013

I'm really not trying to be offensive...

...but here's the thing. Today we went to The Coca-Cola Factory in Atlanta.
We did a walk-through. Saw the history. Watched a little video. Blah blah blah.

Then we got to The Sampling Room where you could sample 65 different Coca-Cola drinks.
Did you hear that? Sixty-Five!

I got through maybe three before I felt a major sugar rush and thought I might vomit all over the floor.

Then I looked around the room and saw what seemed like hundreds of kids there on a school field trip.

The room was packed with them!

They were running all around, gulping down gallons of Coca-Cola drinks from around the world.
Which, suuuurrreee, sounds like a fun field trip and all...

But then I looked more closely.

And I saw this girl:

And this one:

And this little girl who after gulping down her 5th drink said, "I feel gooooood!!"

Then there was this kid who I never once saw with an adult as he was running from machine to machine, drinking as much Coke as he could get his hands on:

And this little girl who was probably barely 6 years old, being handed cup after cup from her mother.

And lastly, this girl also from the school group:

Here's the thing. I'm really not trying to offend. But don't you think something's wrong with this picture? We're taking our children on school field trips to The Coca-Cola Factory and letting them run wild and bombard their bodies with cups and cups of sugary drinks all the while sending them the message that this is perfectly acceptable?
Aren't we supposed to be educating our children on the benefits of a healthy body?
Aren't we in some sort of "childhood obesity" crisis?
And these poor kids, they don't know better. They never learned, obviously.
Maybe our schools should think of other educational field trips that don't involve learning about the history of Coca-Cola and instead teach them more important things like health?

I don't know.

I obviously don't have children, but something just doesn't sit right with me on this one.
Maybe it's not the school's fault. Maybe it stems from the parents and their lack of education.
I remember one time when I was younger, this neighborhood family would give their barely two-year old a bottle filled with SODA.
Soda! For a 2 year old!
But that was so long ago, surely things should have improved in that department by now?
Apparently not, so I learned today.

Again, I don't know the situation. I don't have the answer.

I just hope that when I do have children some day down the road that I can feel comfortable and confident with the atmosphere my child learns and develops in.

Okay, that's my rant for the day.


**Update: I very much understand the sensitivity to privacy and not publishing photos of children without their parents' permission. This is why I did my best at cropping or blocking their faces out. My point was absolutely not to show these children individually as that is not the point, but to make my point as a generality, as I think the issue of this topic is much larger. I thank you all for your concern with keeping their identities private and feel that I have done enough to do so and still stick with the purpose of this post.


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  1. You are out of your mind if you think I'd let my kid go drink coke like that all day, unsupervised! I do have children, and it breaks my heart when I see kids their ages 3-5x their sizes. We are far from perfect parents, hell we just fed them leftover pizza for dinner, but everyone eats veggies and drinks water. I think things are find in moderation, but I think soda is like a gateway drug to other poor eating habits. it took many years to correct my poor choices, and it's a struggle I live with every day - and my bad eating only started in COLLEGE. Can you imagine what it might be like if my parents had fed me crap for the 18 years before that?
    Anyway - it's a sensitive subject, and one that requires a lot of cycle-breaking before there are changes made. My friends and I are all banding together to try and raise our children in a healthy and fun way, but I see how easy it is not to. Crappy food is cheap. Processed food takes little to no effort to make. It's an epidemic....

  2. I do agree with you. But I do feel like I drank A LOT of soda when I was a kid, I think the difference was that I was super active as a kid, too. Whenever I have kids, however, they will not be drinking soda.

  3. Ohhh... field trip to soda heaven. Whose idea is this?! Sucks for the teacher whose going to end up with a bus load of hyperactive kids.

    I don't have kids either, but I think when we do, they'll be eating healthy, but I wouldn't deprive them from the crappy processed food either. I guess it's just finding a balance. I agree with Jennjilla that it's a sensitive subject on families when it comes to feeding their child. More times then not, buying cheap processed foods is just easier, but if people have the income to provide better food then they usually do try.

  4. What the hay!??!?! I remember a parent bringing Coca Coca to a class party and me and a few of my friends were like uhmm we aren't allowed to drink caffeine because we're only 11. Haha! That is so weird that they would bring the kids there for a field trip. The poor kids will probably be running all night like crazy on sugar/caffeine highs!

  5. I remember when I was a kid, we would go on exploration field trips, like to a dig site, and they would provide us with a sandwich, a bag of chips, and a small juice box. Nothing like these kids, gulping down Coca-Cola like their life depends on it. Shame on these schools!

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  7. AGREED!!! I am so sick of people being politically correct about this so as to not "hurt their feelings". No. These kids are fat and their parents are to blame. And the fact that the schools allow this to happen is just unacceptable. *end rant* point is I agree with this post.

  8. Yeah, I saw a mom put Mountain Dew in her baby's bottle at a school movie night. I have Never wanted to smack someone so hard in my life! I have a 9 year old and on rare occasion, we will let him have a soda. We let him have it in moderation in hopes that he will not feel deprived and go haywire on it one day.

  9. My mom never let me drink soda (or koolade)growing up. We would only have it on special occasions like church potlucks or fall festivals. I am thankful for her decision. Even today I don't crave, want, or need soda. I'm a juice, tea, and water girl. I will carry on this practice someday with my own children.

    Great post!

    -Amanda | Living in Another Language

  10. I am right there with you! I teach 8th grade and constantly see my kids come in the morning (where our cafeteria provides FREE breakfast) and they have soda and snacks from the corner store. I constantly ask them, "How will this power your brain and your body for today?" It's horrible. And so many of them are overweight, which you wonder - is someone not teaching them? Or are they at the age (14-16) where they need to make better choices for themselves? If they walk to school unsupervised, and choose to stop at the corner store to buy this junk, then can we still put all the blame on the parents? I do my best to set a good example for them but it is so hard when you assume they aren't getting that good example anywhere else.

  11. Great post! So funny that you took pictures of these kids! I think it is so, so sad. I am a mama to a 10 month old baby boy and I am and am going to be extremely strict about what he consumes, no soda whatsoever until he is much older, at that point we will do it in moderation so he doesn't feel like I am depriving him and go on a rampage when he gets older! Health and exercise are so important to me and I have every intention of passing that onto my little guy!

  12. Ugh! To me, this is a firm of child abuse. Plain and simple! And like another person commented, I'm tired of it not being addressed in the attempt to remain PC about it. Don't get me wrong, we can all say that we will never feed our kids junk but it happens. My son LOVES water though because he's never had anything but and on the rare occasion he gets apple juice or soda, he's always complaining how sick he feels! He's 2! What's that say? Moderation is key but to some people, moderation is once a day or once a week and honestly, even that is probably too much. C'mon, we all saw Wall-E, right?!!! With you 100%

  13. Most of them look like Target employees with their khaki shorts and red tops. And yes, I agree... gross. You might as well take them to a sugar cube manufacturer and have them sample the products.

    1. haha I had the same thought on the kids outfit of choice!

  14. I really think that it comes down to parenting. My family would never have allowed any of us to be overweight like this (barring a medical condition or something.) It's disgusting.

  15. I totally agree with this. It is really sad because at the end of the day, these kids have little control over themselves and what they eat/drink... this is 100% the fault of the parents. This just breaks my heart that parents let their kids get to this point. Growing up is hard enough, but being the "fat kid" makes things 100 times harder.

  16. Wow. That's pretty appalling. Especially considering all the funding cuts to the arts and other departments. If schools are spending their limited funds to take kids on a field trip to stuff themselves with liquid sugar, there's a serious problem with priorities. You're not being offensive, you simply observed a sad sad truth. Education about nutrition is abysmal amongst kids and parents alike. There's really no excuse for a parent allowing their child to be that overweight and unhealthy.
    Totally with you on this one!

  17. I find the pictures really sad. I did drink soda as a kid (not a lot) but, I also played for about 3 hours a night after homework and chores were done. I am sure that some of these parents don't "see" that their kids are overweight and think that they are just fine.

  18. I was Lways allowed to eat and drink whatever when I was a child. I mean, we had dishes of candy all over the house. But because it was so readily available, most times we opted for fruits and veggies. Apparently these kids have not been taught anything about nutrition and moderation. The poor kids are going to crash later in the day. I understand exactly where you are coming from.

  19. I think it's ok to have soda occasionally, but I definitely don't think it should be on a school trip. I think if I had kids and took them there, I would let them only pick a few to try instead of everything.

  20. I don't think this post is offensive at all, and I agree with you.

    The sad thing is, the kids you have pictured don't even look healthy. They probably eat/drink like this all the time. And I am not saying that to be rude or offensive. It's just definitely a problem and not only with young kids. There needs to be a balance of healthy foods and snacks.

    I'm sure there could have been a better choice for a field trip.

  21. I couldn't agree more
    I remember going to art exhibits, museums and educational field trips when I was a kid.
    I don't know if running around like a maniac with 65 flavors of coca cola racing through my system is very..."educational".


  22. I think this is so entirely sad that we are facing such problems like this in the US. It's a terrible view of our country to think that this is what we teach our children is alright.

  23. I completely agree. We were never allowed soda as kids unless it was like a super special occasion and then it was Sprite or Ginger ale and you bet your bottom my mom limited our intake of it.

    There is NO need for kids to drink soda, actually there's no need for anyone to drink soda.

    People need to realize it's not okay to do that to their children! And to be honest I've never seen so many overweight people and kids until we moved to the south. This town has one tiny gym with no kid care and it doesn't even have sidewalks for people to walk. So sad.

  24. I'm kind of shocked that was a school field trip for kids so young. I can see where there are some educational benefits to touring the Coca Cola factory (business education, branding, marketing, how it came to be America's largest company, etc.) but there is absolutely no reason whatsoever to give them free reign over unlimited soda. Among the many other things wrong with that scenario, that's also just poor planning on behalf of all those teachers and parent volunteers that have to deal with the hyped up kids on the bus!

  25. Makes me sick and sad for these kids. What agitates me to NO end is how schools sell candy and high calorie foods (gigantic muffins, doughnuts, and big chocolate bars) as fundraisers. Cheap and fattening.

  26. field trip idea: take the kids to a local state park (free) and go for a hike ... see some freaking waterfalls and enjoy nature for soda sake.

    i love how schools are nut free to the extent that kids are expelled for sneaking in peanut m&ms but THIS is ok.

  27. I agree with you 100%!

    I blame the parents too. Not the schools. I think if the parents had instilled good eating habits and knowledge of what foods are good and which ones aren't, their children wouldn't be overweight in the first place.

    I have made it so clear to everyone in my family and my husband's family that I DO NOT want my one year old drinking soda or juice (because let's be real here, juice is NOT any better in the sugar department). I think that's the most important thing to do... figure out your boundaries and don't budge from that once you've figured it out.

    My sister-in-law gives her daughter juice (and sometimes soda) all the time. It kills me. She says it's because "she wants it. she won't drink anything else!" well, duh! That's all you offered her from day one! My husband and i are very careful to only give our guy milk and water. That's it. And if he ever gets juice, it's a treat (not often though.)

    Sorry about the novel. I am very passionate about this subject.

  28. This is really sad! Unfortunately it all depends on the school districts standards. It really should be a nation wide policy but each district in the US makes their own standards. My moms school isn't allowed to have birthday parties for kids with cupcakes and such, they have to bring sugar free Popsicles and juice or water. I'm pretty sure the vending machines at my high school have been replaced with healthy snacks and the delicious cookies that they sold have been taken away along with many other bad choices. The district my mom teaches in is trying to help the obesity issue but the parents still send their kids to school with sugary juices & chocolate donuts for sad! I feel like I'm going to be a psycho parent when it comes to my own kids haha!

  29. this makes me really sad that the school is taking kids there.

  30. HOLY CRAP! My child would not be allowed on the field trip! At least without me there to be like "okay, enough." However, I taught at a school in LA where the nutrition teacher was extremely overweight and taught the kids that eating broccoli with velveta was healthy. Sooo...maybe the problem starts there.

  31. yeah it's sad and a little scary when kids are allowed to run wild having a bunch of sugar. yikes. when i was a kid, i wanted to eat candy and drink soda all.the.time. but i was only allowed that stuff as a sometimes treat, instead of with every meal. plus i was underweight as a kid, so it wasn't like my parents needed to monitor that... but just seems like now, that junk food/soda is the norm. and school lunches are severely lacking in the nutrition aspect too!
    -- please vote! shoe styling contest

  32. It's definitely the parents. I worked at a school with kids for a little while and saw huge differences between the kids whose parents worried about health and those who didn't. I worked as an aide for a little girl with cerebral palsy, so she did adaptive P.E. with a special P.E. teacher who would have her do exercises she could do. There was another little boy who was in adaptive P.E. at the same time as her, except he wasn't born with any physical problems, he was just so FAT that the school was trying to do all they could for this kid by putting him in extra P.E. This kid was in SECOND grade and probably weighed at LEAST 50lb more than I do...a full grown adult.

    At lunch, I would see this little boy and compare his eating habits to those of the girl I worked with and her friends. While my girl and her friends were eating healthy lunches their parents packed for them, and on some days the not so great school lunch, but at LEAST also partaking in the salad bar that came with it, I would see this little boy being delivered TACO BELL or McDONALD'S by his MOM...and not just a kid's meal...oh no, try 2 BIG MACS, LARGE FRIES, and a soda the size of my head. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Then instead of playing like the other kids at recess, he would go to the computer lab because they let them play games during lunch time.

  33. I am 100% with you on this topic. I live in Mississippi, where obesity knocks on our doorstep and we welcome it right on in with a fried porkchop, some buttered greens, and a heavily syruped jug of sweet tea! There are a lot of things that need to happen to help this crisis in America - first and fore most, Education! Not just in our public schools, but in society! If poverty stricken families are on food stamps, they need a class teaching them about proper eating and even growing their own plant based foods and then food stamps shouldn't allow for parents to purchase sodas and candy with it, but it does! This is something that really breaks my heart and that I hope I can have a hand in changing. I didn't grow up eating healthy, my parents didn't really learn and they didn't really teach us either, but I've been learning the past few years and it saddens me all that I missed out on as a child, but I wish it was something that had been more heavily taught in school as well!

    On another note: Totally love the Coca Cola factory and it's so fun that y'all got to go! They have some of the most insane and disgusting flavors from around the world there! haha

  34. UGHHHH!!! I hate this!! I am a teacher and that makes me hate it even more!! These teachers are outta their minds doing this. We have a responsibility to teach healthy eating habits in school because lord knows it's not happening much at home. And if their motivator for taking kids here was to see how a product goes from an idea to the store, then there are TONS of other options out there. This seriously infuriates me. Agree with you 100%!!

  35. Awful! I was allowed a sip or two from my dad's soda during family parties, but my mom never kept it in the house. I already told my husband that our future kids will have very limited access to sugary drinks and sodas. It's just so unhealthy.

  36. I have been there and my one questions is.... Did you try Beverly???

    Also, you are not at all offending! You're 100% right. Taking them to the Coke Factory is one thing, but there should be a limit on the amount they get to try. I was 26 when I was there and even I didn't try at 65 versions. Why? Because I don't love soda that much. Not to mention, yuck. Kids these days are obese at 6. That's just unacceptable to me.

  37. I do agree that taking a school sponsored field trip to Coco-cola may not be appropriate or even drinking soda while at school. Whatever the reasons why these children suffer from child obesity I don't agree with posting their pictures on your blog. (of course, if you received parent permission that's understandable).

    These children probably endure bullying from other classmates or snide jokes from people in their life because of their weight. Posting pictures of them and then discussing how large they are is just adding a cherry on top.

    I totally understand where you are coming from but then again these are also children and it's not their fault but their parents and now there are pictures of them floating on the web pointing out how big they are.

    1. I completely agree and understand what you're saying, Eyelah! This is why I made a point to make sure I cropped their faces so as not to make them identifiable as that was not my point for this post. My point was made as a generality, not for the children as individuals. Thank you for commenting that though, I definitely agree about keeping identities of children anonymous!

  38. 1. Sounds like HELL on Earth.
    2. Why didn't the teachers at least limit how much Coke they were able to drink?



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