The Niagara News is the community newspaper of Niagara College located in Welland and Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada. It is created and produced by the students of the Niagara College Journalism program.
PETER ALTOMARE Columnist Two thick and juicy boneless white meat chicken filets, two pieces of bacon, two melted slices of Monterey Jack and pepper jack cheese and Colonel’s Sauce. On what kind of bun you ask? Why, this sandwich is so meaty, who needs one? Why not just sandwich that bacon and cheesy goodness between, let’s say, two slices of fried KFC chicken? This is more or less what the planning stages must have been like for this piece of sandwich nirvana, somewhere in a boardroom at KFC headquarters. It was either that, or some bored, overpaid marketing suit decided to test just how willing North Americans would be to shove something like this down their throat. Either way, this groundbreaking, do-away-with-the-bun-for-the-meat masterpiece will make its debut at KFCs everywhere just in time for the summer season. You know, just in case you happen to get too much exercise and need to pack on those emergency calories. And for your convenience, it’s an all-in-one, hand-held, easy-to-consume heart attack known as the Double Down. The Double Down is going to be one more factor contributing to youth obesity. Over the past two decades, rates of overweight and obese Canadian children has nearly tripled. In a report by the Active Healthy Kids Canada Report Card in 2009, only 13 per cent of children were getting 90 minutes of physical activity per day. According to Statistics Canada, 25 per cent of Canadians aged two to 17 are overweight. These numbers are staggering. Our society has struggled to stay healthy and the children are becoming at-risk candidates for serious health issues, such as diabetes and heart disease. There has to be more emphasis placed on the health of Canadian children. Our car-friendly, laid- back, multi-media-driven culture does not make matters any easier. Children spend hours upon hours in front of a screen instead of out in the backyard playing. The older children get, and when they go to school, more healthful eating becomes a challenge. Schools are faced with the challenge of finding healthful alternatives to unhealthful cafeteria fast foods. Recently a group named Corporate Accountability International called for the retirement of beloved corporate mascot Ronald McDonald, claiming his influence is causing obesity in children. Let’s be honest and realistic for a second here. The clown is not making decisions for the parents taking their children out for the fourth fast-food meal of the week. The fast-food giant will be around long after the retirement of the food jester. The bottom line is that children in Canada grow up with a sedentary lifestyle. Too much of our mass media is geared toward the youth population. Kids have too many options such as XBOX and computers to keep them indoors and the fast food industry’s constant barrage of advertisements keeps them hooked to unhealthful eating habits. The summer season is upon us and it calls for a healthy active lifestyle. Children should be encouraged to go outdoors and enjoy the weather before the cold months are upon us once again and the inactive lifestyle of the winter months begins. One can only hope a fruit salad or granola bar can begin to compare to the promise of bacon beautifully sandwiched between cheese and two deep fried pieces of the Colonel’s chicken.