The EALM Blog Shelf

While Laura Cipullo and the Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Team work on some new and exciting projects, you may notice less posts on the Eating and Living Moderately Blog. We have created a “blog shelf” below to keep you entertained and educated. Get caught up on the latest nutrition education by clicking on each year below. We will send you nutrition updates, but we will not be inundating your mailboxes on a weekly basis. If you want weekly “love” and inspiration, subscribe to our Mom Dishes It Out blog for weekly posts and recipes. Mom Dishes It Out provides expert advice from mom Registered Dietitians and mom Speech Pathologists on the “how to” of health promotion!

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The EALM Blog Shelf

Please feel free to peruse our posts organized by year below. Or take a look at the categories listed at the bottom of the page to find a post in the desired.

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

How to Get Your Nanny to Follow Your Food Style

Guest Blog by Debra Johnson

Photo Credit: Ioannis Karydis via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Ioannis Karydis via Compfight cc

Many children have special dietary needs that are a result of either a specific lifestyle or a health condition. A child may have an allergy to a specific food, or a family may have chosen to live a vegetarian lifestyle. No matter the reasoning for a special diet, leaving a child with a new caregiver or nanny can be a challenging experience for a parent. It can cause the parent to worry about how well the nanny will follow the child’s diet plan. For this reason, the following ideas are offered to help you teach your nanny the importance of following your child’s food style when you leave your child in their care.
1. Create a contract – When hiring a nanny, it is always a good idea to write up a simple contract that details the hours that they will work as well as other necessary guidelines. For a child who has a special diet, this can be outlined in the contract as well so that everyone understands how important it is for the diet to be followed.

2. Post a menu – Until a new nanny becomes accustomed to the child’s diet, it can be helpful to create a menu of meals for the nanny to follow. This can be posted in a visible area of the kitchen or in a manual that you create for the nanny.

3. Make it convenient – If a child’s diet is complicated, it could become overwhelming for a nanny at first. Therefore, it is a good idea to prepare meals ahead of time that can be frozen and reheated. Additionally, stocking up on approved foods and snacks will help your nanny to include a variety of healthy options for your child.

4. Avoid eating out – Spending a day out can be an enjoyable way for your nanny to provide your child with new experiences. However, navigating the menu at a restaurant can be challenging for someone who has special dietary needs. For this reason, you may prefer to pack a lunch or provide a list of safe food options for days when your nanny takes your child out on a day trip.

5. Post emergency information – Parents should also be sure to leave emergency information with a nanny. This is especially true for children with allergies who may require special medications in the event that they have a reaction. Make sure that your nanny has access to emergency information so that she can act quickly if necessary.

When it comes to special accommodations, a qualified nanny will have no problem making sure that your child’s needs are met. However, it is important to provide support to your nanny by making sure  they understand your child’s health condition and have access to the proper food. By making an extra effort to ensure that your nanny is knowledgeable, you will be able to enjoy the peace that comes with knowing they will provide your child with the best of care.

 

About the Author:

This guest post is contributed by Debra Johnson, blogger and editor of Liveinnanny.com. She welcomes your comments at her email, jdebra84@gmail.com.

A Reflection on BMI | Part 2 – BMI Report Cards

A Reflection on BMI: Part 2 BMI Report Cards
By Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services Team

Screen shot 2014-06-07 at 11.59.22 PM

Just to recap what we learned in Part I, BMI is a measurement based on an individual’s height and weight. It is used on a scale to reflect one’s status as underweight, normal and underweight. While using measurements is essential for statistical reasons and diagnostic tools, BMI is being utilized as a marker of health rather than focusing on behaviors and a cluster of measurements. We have said it before and will say it again; BMI is only one measurement and it’s not always reflective of a person’s state of health.

 

After collecting all of this information on BMI, does this change how we look at it for our growing children and adolescents?

 

Adolescent bodies, the time of development just after childhood, are growing at a rapid pace. Mentally and physically. Teens deal with an increased level of hormones in their bodies, which contribute to the many different growth spurts they will endure. They struggle with self-identity and the desire for independence. This combination often causes teens to be deeply self-conscious, which can inhibit decision-making. It could cause them to become defiant and often times unresponsive to parental guidance.

 

Puberty arrives at different times, stages and intervals for every child but usually happens around age 11-14. On average, teens experience a 20-25% growth increase during this time—35 pounds for girls and 45 pounds for boys. In an average one-year spurt, girls grow roughly 3.5 inches and boys about 4 inches. Using a measurement such as BMI, which is already so marginalized to determine the health status of a rapidly changing youth seems counterproductive.

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Over the past few years, you may have heard of BMI Report Cards or, as they are more harshly referred to, “Fat Letters.” They are letters sent home from schools reporting on a child’s BMI and suggesting to seek out a physician if results are above normal. Needless to say, parents did not respond well to this. It caused a national outrage. In 2004, Arkansas was the first state to send BMI report cards home to parents and/or guardians. Children and adolescents with a BMI indicating they were “overweight” were suggested to consult a health care professional. Today, the program is implemented in over a quarter of United States school districts.

 

A cover story from the New York Post last week chronicled (with pictures!) this same concern. Click here to read the article in full and see the letter that a young girl was sent home with from the NY Department of Education. Unfortunately, this is happening with more regularity in New York City schools than the article chronicled. It isn’t just front cover news; a friend of ours recently received “obese” range marks for two of her three children who are nowhere near overweight. Now it becomes clear that we cannot possible classify these kids as overweight or underweight without taking into consideration other factors such as fat distribution, family history and the child’s behavior. This leads us to a very important question—if BMI calculates the relationship between height and weight, in a time when height and weight are rapidly changing at different paces and intervals, how can we justify using this as a determinant of adolescent health?

 

Knowing everything that we know about BMI, is this really something that will be beneficial for children and adolescents? Shouldn’t we be focusing on their habits through this time to pave the way for a lifelong positive relationship with health and food?

 

Perhaps even more important, we should be considering how these letters impact the children receiving them. We know that adolescence is the time that individuals are molded into adults. So what happens when a child is told they are fat? A recent article published by the LA Times discusses a study at UCLA that researched this question. Their data reflects “10-year-old girls who are told they are too fat by people that are close to them are more likely to be obese at 19 than girls who were never told they were too fat.” (LA Times, Deborah Netburn) The research goes on to emphasize the danger of “Weight Labeling” at this age. With our understanding of adolescent development, it’s easy to see why.

 

The major flaw with BMI calculations continues to be that it cannot tell you an individual’s habits. Those high in muscle weight are considered overweight, petite individuals are underweight and normal range individuals could be harboring unhealthy eating habits. BMI is limiting. It doesn’t ask the big questions; have you started menstruating? Are you feeling pressure to experiment with drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, or sex? How often do you think about food? Are you eating a balanced diet? These are the thoughts and habits that, overtime, determine the health of an individual.

 

Has your child received a BMI report card known as a Fitness Gram? What are your feelings concerning weight stigmas and children?

 

For more information on this subject, check out the Academy of Eating Disorder’s stand on BMI reporting in schools and Examiner’s take on Fitnessgrams.

A Reflection on BMI

A Reflection on BMI
Part 1 – In The Media
By Laura Cipullo and the Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services Team

Photo Credit: Barbara.K via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Barbara.K via Compfight cc

We’ve been hearing a lot about BMI recently in news. Between The Biggest Loser controversy and a recent article recounting a Yale student’s struggle with her school’s perception of health, BMI seems to be the hottest new weight assessment. Mom Dishes it Out covered BMI in 2012 (the article can be accessed here) emphasizing the importance of good and healthy behaviors over the use of a flawed scale of measurement. Since then, we found that it continues to be used in the media as a fact determining obesity. But what does BMI really tell us about our bodies? Body Mass Index—or BMI—is a measurement of body fat based on an individual’s height and weight. To determine your own BMI, you can use this easy equation.

BMI = weight (kg)/ height (m)2 

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Determining BMI is not specific; it’s general. An individual’s BMI is just one part of the puzzle when health care professionals work towards improving an individuals habits and it should not be used as the sole determinate to suggest that an individual is either under or overweight. It is merely a clue as part of a larger nutrition and health assessment.  In recent years, the parameters for BMI have changed, causing more people to fall into certain categories.

Consider this – muscle weighs more than fat. So are Tom Brady, Michael Phelps, and many of the female Olympic gymnasts overweight? Their BMI says yes, though we know this is not the case. Bodies come in all shapes, sizes, and masses and it is important to remember this.

The fueling argument behind The Biggest Loser contestant, Rachel Frederickson’s, weight controversy was her BMI of 18, a value considered just underweight and malnourished. Without considering her BMI, it’s easy to understand how and why a driven and competitive individual involved in a nationally televised weight-loss competition (who would win $250,000) would be so intent on dramatic weight loss. However, we don’t think her weight was healthy. But not because of her BMI, rather her report of exercising 6 hours a day while only consuming 1600 kcals daily in addition to losing 266 pounds in such a short period of time. This is not realistic to continue nor healthy for a lifestyle. If an Olympic athletic were in training, they may exercise for so many hours but they would also be likely consuming 4000 kcals/day. Since the final weigh-in, and after resuming her “normal lifestyle” with the tools she learned from the show, Rachel has a BMI of about 20.

What is more important to consider, is that she reports she is finding time to exercise everyday for about 60 minutes. She loves cooking and is enthusiastic about her meals. She has a renewed sense of her athleticism. She has invested in behavior modification and it is working for her. Instead of using her BMI as a tool to ask the larger questions, we used it’s against her stating that is was a fact that she was unhealthy and now that her BMI is in normal range it is a fact that she is healthy. When, in reality, none of us truly have access to that information. Particularly since none of us know the mental and physical impact that social scrutiny had on her—that’s certainly not information we can get from her BMI. We wonder, is she menstruating, is she thinking about food all of the time or some of the time? We don’t need Rachel to answer these questions, but rather, for us to understand that a mid-range BMI and decreased exercise still does not equate health. More questions need to be answered.

Photo Credit: -Paul H- via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: -Paul H- via Compfight cc

A similar scandal arose when Yale student, Frances Chan, reported in an article later picked up by the Huffington Post, that Yale was forcing her to gain weight, at risk of mandated medical leave from school, based on her BMI. Chan, 5’2” and 90 lbs has a BMI of 16.5. Says Chan;

The University blindly uses BMI as the primary means of diagnosis, it remains oblivious to students who truly need help but do not have low enough BMIs. Instead, it subjects students who have a personal and family history of low weight to treatment that harms our mental health. 

While we are given access to Chan’s height and weight and, therefore, her BMI—she is not our patient. We do not have her medical history or understanding of her body’s development overtime. Most importantly, we are not made aware of Chan’s habits and behaviors. With all of that said, her BMI is quiet low. This is a red flag to health professionals suggesting they dig deeper into one’s medical status and mental health to determine if there is an issue, perhaps behavioral, that needs addressing. Chan suggests that Yale used her BMI as the sole determinant during her nutrition intervention. Whether or not an intervention was required remains unclear to us, but we would hope that more than one’s BMI will be used in future assessments and they would take into account her medical status, her mental health and her behavior/habits.

The above scenario is particularly true when visually assessing others. The point here is size is not the only measurement of health especially that of BMI. Some people qualify as healthy with a BMI of 20 yet their behaviors say otherwise by implementing dietary restriction, smoking, over exercising and even purging. While others, with a BMI of 26 could be healthy, exercising, not smoking, and eating normally yet be considered overweight. The same holds true for someone in the extreme margins of BMI. There are many nutrition clients that we have counseled with BMI’s greater than 29 who have made dietary and lifestyle behavioral changes yet their weight does not reflect the media’s representation of health. And so the same goes for someone who is naturally thin and healthy. For women, regular menstruation, adequate nutrition intake and lack of food thoughts/obsessions along with a normal blood pressure, EKG and more, may be a better indicator of true health. So don’t judge a book by its cover.

Stay tuned; there is more information to come about BMI and how it is being used in our culture and society.

From Supersized to Downsized

Photo Credit: KRoark via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: KRoark via Compfight cc

From Supersized to Downsized
By Laura Cipullo and the Whole Nutrition Services Team

 

7-Eleven proudly offers a 44-ounce “Super Big Gulp”. KFC has something called the 64-ounce soda bucket – an entire gallon of liquid that is sold as a single portion. According to Reader’s Digest, this is the caloric equivalent of a KFC Honey BBQ sandwich, a house side salad with ranch dressing, macaroni and cheese, and half an apple turnover (roughly 780 calories and 217 grams of sugar). When did drinking an entire gallon of soda in one sitting become commonplace and acceptable?

 

Outrageous soda sizes like these and others prompted former Mayor Bloomberg’s health board to pass a law in March of 2013 prohibiting the sale of sweetened beverages larger than 16 ounces in New York City. This “soda ban”, as it was widely known, was immediately met with criticism, especially from the American Beverage Association and fast-food restaurants. Critics argued that drinking gallons of soda is a personal choice and the government shouldn’t be allowed to regulate that choice. After much deliberation, the Supreme Court ruled against the ban and by August of the same year, New Yorkers were free to eat, drink and be merry – but at what cost?

 

These issues were debated at the very first MOFAD Roundtable event, a new program from the Museum of Food and Drink (MOFAD) which aims to bring together experts and advocates to debate current controversial food issues. The event took place on December 5 and featured the following diverse panel of experts:

 

  • Joel Berg, Executive Director, New York City Coalition Against Hunger
  • Nicholas Freudenberg, Faculty Director, NYC Food Policy Center at Hunter College
  • Parke Wilde, Associate Professor, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University
  • J. Justin Wilson, Senior Research Analyst, The Center For Consumer Freedom
  • Lisa Young, Adjunct Professor, Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health, New York University

 

Nicholas Freudenberg, Faculty Director of the NYC Food Policy Center at Hunter College moderated the discussion and started off with the following facts: Over the past 20 years, sugary beverages have contributed to a 60% increase in overweight among 6-11 year olds and teens consume half their calories from sugary drinks. In very recent years, the soda trend has diminished slightly but it is still predicted that this generation will live less years than the previous one. So what is the solution? Is it more education? Unfortunately, pro-ban panelists argued, by itself, health education does little to change behavior; we need to do more and the soda ban is a good place to start. While critics argue that removing a choice created a “nanny” state and even went as far as calling the mayor “Nanny Bloomberg”, aren’t “Nanny Pepsi” and “Nanny Coke” doing the same thing? Wouldn’t a real nanny offering a gallon of sugary soda to a child on a regular basis be charged with negligence?

Pro-ban panelists also raised a good point in saying that when people think that limiting the power of government influence increases individual power, what it really does is increase the power of big business. “Obesity is directly related to larger portion sizes,” explained Lisa Young, a professor at New York University and author of The Portion Teller Plan, “It’s time to reset the environment; we need an environment that promotes healthy choices.” Pro-ban panelists also argued that the ban is not really a ban at all – people can still buy four smaller cups if they are really craving more soda. Rather, it’s the idea of not giving people the option of mindlessly drinking 64-ounces in one sitting. If someone is genuinely thirsty after the first 16 ounces, they have to actively make the decision to purchase more.

Photo Credit: poolie via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: poolie via Compfight cc

Choice was a big issue with anti-ban panelist J. Justin Wilson, Senior Research Analyst for The Center For Consumer Freedom, arguing that the government trying to remove our choice is only sending a message that people aren’t smart enough to make healthy decisions on their own. “With these policies, we’re removing all personal responsibility for one’s health,” he said, “and dramatically changing one’s weight requires a whole lifestyle change.” Joel Berg, Executive Director for New York City Coalition Against Hunger countered that it’s the “economic environment that’s preventing personal responsibility. When you’re poor, you don’t have a personal choice. Soda is cheaper.” Young also raised a good point in saying that with $190 billion in healthcare costs, are the choices being offered to us really choices at all? Is a choice of a 32-oz, a 44-oz, and a 51-oz at the movie theatre really a choice? None of those are healthy choices in her book.

With an issue like this, one that scares people into thinking their personal choice is taken away in the “land of the free”, there is no easy answer. In the end, it is certainly up to the individual to make healthy choices but when there are so many unhealthy ones being thrown our way, our judgment may certainly be clouded. A soda ban would have at least removed the mindless gulp of a gallon’s worth of sugary water just because it was there. Here at EALM (Eating and Living Moderately Blog) we strongly encourage our readers to make mindful choices and recognize the consequences of these choices.

 

What do you think?

Love Your Heart with 8 Heart-Healthy Foods

February isn’t just the month of flowers, chocolates or spending time with the ones you love..but as heart health month, it’s also about loving your heart! Heart disease remains one of the leading causes of death for both men and women1. Lifestyle choices play a major role in preventing heart disease as well as controlling it. With this in mind, it’s never too early to start focusing on overall heart health. Show your heart how much you appreciate it by incorporating these heart healthy foods!

Berries – Please your heart with antioxidant rich berries like strawberries, goji berries and blackberries, which are an antioxidant powerhouse! Blueberries for example, house high amounts of phytonutrients like anthocyanidins, which aid in the process of neutralizing free radical damage in our cells. Consuming 1-2 portions of berries daily may help reduce cardiovascular disease risk2.

Brussel Sprouts – Tender, crunchy and just a little bit nutty, brussel sprouts have more to offer than just flavor. This cruciferous veggie contains vitamin C and vitamin A which help fight against heart disease, and vitamin Its high fiber content aids in digestion, helps lower cholesterol and reduces the risk for developing heart disease, stroke and hypertension3.

Chia Seeds – Chia seeds contain a high level of soluble fiber, which helps slow down digestion and regulates blood sugar levels. Soluble fiber can help lower LDL cholesterol, reduce risk for cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Just three tablespoons of these seeds can provide 37-44% of the American Heart Association’s recommended amount of fiber per day. Two tablespoons of chia seeds provide a 3:1 ratio of omega-3:omega-6 FA. With 3x more omega-3 than omega-6, adding chia seeds to a diet can help an individual reach optimal health by balancing out the ratio of fatty-acid intake in one’s daily nutrition. To learn more about chia seeds, click here.

Collard Greens – This cruciferous veggie is high in vitamins A,C, K and folate. It contains antioxidants and provides us with anti-inflammatory benefits.

Greek Yogurt – Low in saturated fat and cholesterol, Greek yogurt makes for a heart-healthy snack. It’s high in protein and calcium, which can help you stay fuller longer, while strengthening your bones.

Olives – Monounsaturated fats in moderation are heart-healthy fats that help lower blood cholesterol levels4. A rich source of monounsaturated fats is olives, which have been shown to lower LDL (“bad cholesterol”) and increase or maintain HDL (“good cholesterol”).

Salmon – High in omega-3 fatty acid, DHA and protein, salmon helps lower blood pressure and reduces inflammation5.

Wheat germ – Packed with B vitamins, the nutrients found in the grain play a vital role in maintaining heart-healthy bodily functions. In addition to lowering the risk of heart disease, B vitamins like folate are especially for women of childbearing age as well as any woman eating too little veggies or fruits. As an excellent source of fiber, wheat germ helps control cholesterol.

Is food always on your mind?

 

 

5 Signs You May Be Eating When You Don’t Need To

  1. You sneak food.
  2. You eat every time you come home regardless of your hunger level.
  3. You eat in bed.
  4. You always eat when you are sad or angry.
  5. You eat food just because it is there.
If you answer yes to any of the questions above, read the article below. 

ENDING THE INTERNAL FOOD FIGHT

By Laura Cipullo, RD, CDE, CEDS

You’ve finished eating dinner. You’re satisfied and feel good. But coming from the other room is a voice. It whispers, “Eat me. You’re tired, and I will make you feel better. You gorged last night. . . and every night the week before—why not tonight?” So you get off the couch and sink, bite by blissful bite, to the bottom of a pint of your favorite ice cream.

Moments later, your feeling of bliss is gone. Guilt, remorse, shame and loss set in. You just ate an entire pint of ice cream when you weren’t even hungry. You feel that food is controlling you and that you just can’t win.

Well, you can win. Food needs to be balanced with your physical needs and sometimes your emotional needs. You can break the cycle of behavioral eating by giving yourself time and working in phases. This article outlines six phases to end the internal food fight and gain a neutral relationship with eating. Each step focuses on a small behavioral change designed to prevent the feeling of deprivation. The continuation and accumulation of the new habits can lead to big health and lifestyle changes for your future. Give yourself a week or two to move through each phase.

This article addresses night eating of previously restricted foods and builds off the ice cream example above, but these phases can be applied to many other eating habits. Other non-hunger reasons for eating include eating to comfort yourself, eating something after a meal because you grew up eating dessert, and eating socially because your friends are eating. Using the steps below as a guide can help you break these too. Before you begin, however, you have to first identify and accept your counterproductive habit. Only then can you begin the journey toward freedom from your internal struggle.

Phase 1 (Weeks 1 & 2): Once you’ve identified your behavior, embrace your habit or forbidden food. Give yourself permission to eat ice cream past your point of fullness. Allowing yourself the food or behavior removes the guilt and releases you from the internal struggle. Enjoy the food/habit, recognizing how your body feels as you are indulging. In our example here, remember how good that first bite of ice cream tastes (it’s often what your body remembers most, because as you continue to eat, your senses are dulled).

Phase 2 (Weeks 2 & 3): It’s time for another small change. Start by reducing your portion to three quarters of its original size. While you’re modifying your behavior in a healthy way, you’ll still be allowing yourself to enjoy the food. You aren’t depriving yourself, and you’re beginning to be mindful of your physical needs.

Phase 3 (Weeks 4 & 5): Decrease your portion to half the original size over the next two weeks. While slowly reducing the portion, you shouldn’t feel restricted or deprived. Savor your food; notice the color, the texture, the taste, and how it makes you feel during and after eating it.

Phase 4 (Weeks 5 & 6): You have experienced your food fully and have probably realized that a smaller portion satisfies you. Now change the food you are eating. Using our example, try a creamy sorbet. If nuts are your night food of choice, try switching to another salty finger food, like popcorn.

Think about why you are eating. Do you want to keep this habit? While you’re continuing to eat at night, you’re now doing so with a neutral food (one that was not formerly restricted), which is less numbing. Your relationship with food should feel more balanced.

Phase 5 (Weeks 6 & 7): Get ready to reintroduce your original food. Alternate eating the halved portion of regular ice cream with one of sorbet. When you crave the ice cream, eat it. And when you want the sorbet, dig right in. Try to alternate your snack every other night and eat your food at the kitchen table with no other stimuli (watching TV, talking on the phone). This creates an environment that allows you to be mindful, and intuitive. Hopefully you feel freer and are better able to enjoy both foods.

Phase 6 (Weeks 7 & 8): Incorporate your night foods in moderation. Enjoy the food while paying close attention to your body’s needs. Remember that your night eating should be stimulus-free and at the kitchen table. Alternate your foods, follow your cravings and, most important, if you aren’t hungry, find something else to do.

Follow this proactive plan, and after 12 weeks of gradual changes, you will be eating less and feeling more empowered and less controlled by food. Don’t be tempted to race through phases. There’s no reward for finishing first, so remember to take your time. Doing so will help make your new habit a permanent one, and you’ll be more in tune with your body’s needs.

Moving forward, you can repeat the phases if you feel the need to further reduce your portions or if your old habit recurs. Finally, remember that you can always receive additional support from trusted friends, family, self-help books or a registered dietitian.

Phases 1 through 6, in Brief

Phase 1: Allow yourself your chosen food or behavior for the first one to two weeks.

Phase 2: Reduce your portion size to ¾ its original size.

Phase 3: Decrease your portion further to ½ its original size.

Phase 4: Choose a different food. Change the food you are eating.

Phase 5: Alternate eating the halved portion of original food with its healthier counterpart. Remember to eat in a stimulus-free environment at the kitchen table.

Phase 6: Incorporate all foods, in moderation. Choose ice cream one night, sorbet one night and perhaps nothing another night (if you are not hungry), maintaining your new healthy habit.

 

The above is not intended for those suffering from eating disorders.

 

 


The Ban On Soda In Containers:16 oz – Do you know you just guzzled 1.5 bagels??

In response to Laura’s appearance on Fox and Friends, Sunday morning hosted by Dave Briggs. Laura debated Mr. Wilson from Consumer Freedom. Some people are asking if Laura is in favor of  a nanny state. She is not in favor of this and shares her views here:

Everyone must make changes, both parents and policy makers need to reverse the obesity and diabetes epidemics. In general, people need to eat less and less of highly processed foods, including soda and chips.  America needs to become physically active again. I am not in favor of a nanny state, but the poor health of Americans, the hundreds of billions of dollars spent on medical care and the rise in both diabetes type I and II, scream for change.

Individuals must recognize, regardless of the source, added sugar in large doses is similar to drugs, and alcohol. These sugars affect the brain immediately. When someone has high blood sugar they cannot see or think clearly. Our nerves are damaged to the point of losing feeling in our limbs. In addition, our bodies respond to added sugar and sugar by releasing hormones such as insulin that lead to weight gain in the stomach and eventually diabetes.

The American environment is toxic to our health.
Yes, genetics are partly responsible for America’s health crisis, but the environment plays a huge role. Supersized portions, no gym for children in schools and encouraging eating while watching movies sets people up to fail at self care.
Perhaps a better proposal than the ban on soda is to have movie theaters change concessions stands to restaurants. Encouraging mindful eating before or after a movie rather than guzzling a soda during a film could aid in eating less.
Research shows mindless eating while watching movies and tv causes obesity. Do people realize that their 24 oz of soda is equal to a small meal? This small meal is equal to 1.5 bagels.

We are in an obesity and diabetes epidemic.
Again, I do not want a nanny state but the government is partly responsible for these epidemics since they subsidize food such as corn, issue food stamps to buy drinks with added sugars and other processed foods. Did you know Diabetes cost America 218 billion dollars in 2007? Imagine what the cost is now. The soda ban is not a costly proposal for America. Rather, it makes people aware that it is not normal, nor healthy to drink non-nutritional beverages in quantities greater than 16oz. We are in a crisis; Everyone must make changes, both parents and policy makers to get America eating well and moving more.

Bottom-Line
America must focus on eating foods for fuel – not mindless eating for boredom or stress. The goals should be to eat food that is high in nutrition like beans and berries– not empty calories. Focus on fresh, local food, not processed boxed food for at least 75 percent of your intake if not more. Finally, drink water or Perrier for hydration not soda. And please do not drink sport drinks or sell sport drinks in schools especially if the school doesn’t even offer gym class. Parents need to set boundaries with children, but so does the Food and Drug Administration and the food companies.