Health takes a holiday with Tasty Dog fundraiser

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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I wonder if Mr. Richard Gertler is aware of the following statistics on childhood obesity and why healthy eating is a weighty issue [Really? Hot dogs are what you're hot about? Viewpoints, May 11].

Today, about one in three American kids are overweight or obese.

Approximately 17 percent of children and adolescents 2-19 (or 12.5 million) are obese (defined as body-mass index (BMI) for age at or above the 95th percentile).

Children with high BMI often become obese adults,%u200B and obese adults are at risk for many chronic conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, certain cancers and osteoarthritis.

High BMI in children may also have immediate consequences, such as elevated lipid concentrations and blood pressure.

In a population-based sample of kids 5-17, 70 percent of obese youth had at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

Children and adolescents who are obese are at greater risk for bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, and social and psychological problems such as stigmatization, poor self-esteem, and depression.

Excess weight at young ages has been linked to higher and earlier death rates in adulthood.

Since 1980, obesity prevalence among children and adolescents has almost tripled.

Childhood obesity is now the No.1 health concern among parents in the U.S., topping drug abuse and smoking.

The medical care costs of obesity in the U.S. are staggering. In 2008 dollars, these costs totaled about $147 billion.

"Because of the increasing rates of obesity, unhealthy eating habits and physical inactivity, we may see the first generation that will be less healthy and have a shorter life expectancy than their parents," says former Surgeon General Richard Carmona

Healthy lifestyle habits, including healthy eating and physical activity, can lower the risk of becoming obese and developing related diseases. Reaching and maintaining an appropriate body weight is important. That's why small but permanent changes in eating behavior are more effective than short-term changes.

Parents' involvement in modifying overweight children's behavior is important, and parents who model healthy eating and physical activity can positively influence their children's health. This extends to other adult influencers, such as teachers and principals, and school food programs (including those sponsored by PTOs).

A cursory observation of District 97 principals, teachers, parents, administration staff and board members leads one to conclude that healthy eating is not practiced while being preached (well over 50 percent of these adults are not at their ideal BMI).

Encouraging our kids to gorge on Tasty Dog's menu items for short-term monetary benefit to schools must be truly the stuff of genius parents (perhaps their myelin sheaths have too much of those Tasty Dog lipids or just perhaps they are insane in the membrane).

Kudos to those parents who wrote to Wednesday Journal, and especially those parents who take the effort to teach kids about healthy eating habits. Teaching and promoting healthy eating behavior is one of the most important jobs of a parent. It is literally a matter of life and death. That is, if you know the facts and statistics.

I am the nut (sometimes I feel like one, sometimes I don't) who not only cares about the questionable ethical behavior of our elected officials (soon to be adjudicated by the Cook County Circuit Court) but someone who also cares about our children's health.

The statistics in this letter came from the Centers for Disease Control website,

Noel Kuriakos
Founder, Students First of Oak Park

Reader Comments

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Peter T  

Posted: May 26th, 2011 9:47 AM

You are correct Brendan. This was the article Get to Tasty Dog before we lose another local business @OakPark It was written by the organizer for the fundraiser.


Posted: May 26th, 2011 9:41 AM

Wasn't the tasty dog fundraiser about helping a local business out of their financial troubles because they didn't pay taxes a bunch of years? There was an article in this paper about that very thing. Don't make it about health, everyone has a different opinion on health. That's why the schools feed the students lethal doses of sodium every day. Where is all the outrage for that?


Posted: May 25th, 2011 11:56 PM

Obesity is a problem for our nation. At thirteen I was diagnosed with hypertension because I was so overweight. Now, I take what my son eats very seriously. He is thin, eats right, and healthy (an apple a day keeps the doctor away is my motto). Now to eat at Tasty Dog once a year is not going to kill him. Life is about balance not extremes. If you don't want a hot dog, take your kid for the fun, buy an ice cream cone, support the school and call it a day. Or are you against ice cream too?

OP Resident  

Posted: May 25th, 2011 11:55 AM

I'm on a 500 character diet and its administered by my dietician- The WJ


Posted: May 25th, 2011 11:45 AM

Ha, I had forgotten about Noel's 1000 calorie a day diet.

E. Jackson  

Posted: May 25th, 2011 11:18 AM

So, based on the article about the lawsuit, Noel will soon have more time to focus on this issue. Perhaps he can put all of Oak Park on his 1000 calorie per day diet, or demand the district allow him to have full access to all of our schools so he can weigh the children several times per year for his "research" on obesity. I do find it amusing that, in a letter about the dangers of obesity, he quoted the slogan for the candy bars Mounds and Almond Joy.

I like cigars, steak and booze  

Posted: May 25th, 2011 11:01 AM

@GinaRobbins: Who is the bully here? This is America. If you do not like the Tasty Dog Fundraiser, you don't have to go. Simple as that. Plus, you can start your own alternative "healthy food" fundraiser (that I will ignore, but I promise I will not whine about). What the heck is it with people around here thinking that they can dictate for everyone else?

Carol from Oak Park  

Posted: May 25th, 2011 10:51 AM

First, BMI is a completely misleading and bogus statistic for determining obesity. Second, there are several bogus assumptions being made here that should be addressed, for instance, the assumptions that (1)Oak Park elementary school kids have an obesity problem, (2) that this un-established obesity problem results from unhealthy eating habits, and (3) that a once-a-year fundraiser at Tasty Dog is a contributing source of these unhealthy eating habits. None of these assumptions are true.

Gina Robbins from OP  

Posted: May 25th, 2011 10:21 AM

When did this community become such a bullying bunch? There is a substantial amount of truth to NK's letter. Childhood obesity is a national (and growing) problem, and surely most of this paper's readers would agree that Tasty Dog might not be the HEALTHIEST choice for a family dinner out. I'll agree that pointing out the non-ideal BMI of OP's adults seems mean-spirited, but the obesity stats do put our region high on the list. This resentful slew of attacks under pseudonym just seems cowardly.

Same ol' same ol'  

Posted: May 25th, 2011 10:18 AM

If you are that concerned, why not propose a healthy alternative? After all, you are a PTO Co-President. It would be nice to hear something constructive from you, and the other letter writers, instead of the standard lecturing.

OP mom from Oak Park  

Posted: May 25th, 2011 10:15 AM

A cursory observation of the Tasty Dog menu . . . would find salads, grilled chicken, homemade soups, and vegetarian garden burgers. I really wish some of the letter-writers who attack this local business (and local schools booster!) would actually visit the place for a change.


Posted: May 25th, 2011 10:14 AM

Mr. Kuriakos seems to enjoy being the official Oak Park gadfly.

Bart Simpson  

Posted: May 25th, 2011 9:52 AM

When I was in school, I would give guys like Noel wedgies, wet willies and the dreaded rear admiral.

healthy mom  

Posted: May 25th, 2011 9:47 AM



Posted: May 25th, 2011 9:01 AM

Noel Kuriakos is like the kid who no one notices so he keeps acting weirder and weirder until someone pays attention to him. Here's his blog:

Good Grief  

Posted: May 25th, 2011 8:40 AM

"A cursory observation of District 97 principals, teachers, parents, administration staff and board members leads one to conclude that healthy eating is not practiced while being preached (well over 50 percent of these adults are not at their ideal BMI)." Stay Classy, Noel.


Posted: May 25th, 2011 8:40 AM

We attended the Tasty Dog fundraiser AND I teach my kids about healthy eating behavior. They, and I, are in great health inside and out. Funny how that "moderation in everything" works.

Please get a job!  

Posted: May 24th, 2011 10:45 PM

Wow, Mr. Kuriakos, you really do need to find gainful employment. It's not enough for you to pursue a half-baked (vindictive) lawsuit, which apparently did not fare so well in court today, wasting public resources (D97 and Cook County) in the process. Now you are joining forces with the anti-Tasty Dog cabal? Swell.

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