In my neighborhood, the jingle of the ice cream truck is ever in the distance. For some lucky reason, the truck does not drive through my family's subdivision. I say 'lucky' because if the truck did roll through daily, I'd constantly be saying "no" and disappointing my kids. To me, ice cream is a treat. But somewhere along the way, junk food and so-called treats have become the anchor of many children's diets. Call me an ice cream truck grouch, but children are suffering from the highest rate of childhood obesity in our nation's history. It is well known childhood obesity is a contributing factor in the rising rates of type 2 diabetes among today's youth. What are we going to do about it?
Doris Paul from the Squamish Nation in Vancouver has one answer -- ban the ice cream truck. Her disdain for ice cream trucks has grown as she witnessed the soaring rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes in her nation's people and her own family. Ms. Paul's father was one of the biggest fans of the jingling bells, licking many an ice cream cone on hot summer days. A kid at heart, he generously bought ice cream for neighborhood children. But he died last year from diabetes complications, and Ms. Paul believes he never equated poor nutrition with his health problems. Ms. Paul's sister is also dealing with diabetes.
Ms. Paul's initiative to ban ice-cream trucks from three native communities on Vancouver's north shore was backed by the Nation's councillors. A mother of five, she also backed up her activism by eliminating junk food from her own pantry, replacing potato chips, soft drinks and ice cream with fruits and vegetables. Her family suffered for awhile, but now reports feeling healthier. A community garden is in the works.
Meeda Falou, manager of Rainbow Novelties, is not pleased. Falou reports banning smoking would have more of an impact on health, and parents have the choice to buy lower calorie treats such as sherbet or popsicles.
Perry Kendall, British Columbia's provincial health officer, fully supports the initiative. He did acknowledge ice cream is a revered tradition in the communities, but the native people have a higher incidence of type 2 diabetes (three to five times more common), and it is common sense to remove sources of junk food. Ms. Paul noted many of the nation's children were visiting the truck three or four times a day. Read the full story in Globe and Mail.
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