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Letter: Elevate school nutrition teaching

This file photo shows the nutrition label on

This file photo shows the nutrition label on a can of soda with the ingredient high fructose corn syrup, in Philadelphia. (Sept. 15, 2011) Credit: AP

Columnist Alvin Bessent is certainly correct in his assessment of America's state of health ["America's puzzling 'health disadvantage,'" Opinion, Jan. 16]. At any given time, over half of Americans are being treated for some health problem. There is definitely something amiss.

The only solution is education, and that has to start in grade school. We have to ask why we teach reading, writing and arithmetic, so that children can be employed and become productive members of society, but we don't teach them how to stay healthy so they can enjoy the fruits their labor.

It's not unusual to see kids in strollers screaming for their candy or sugared cereal, which is often displayed at children's eye level. These kids are on their way to becoming addicted to our highly sugared junk food diets, which can lead to diabetes, heart disease, sometimes cancer and a lifetime of yo-yo dieting.

Every school should have a real health education program, where kids learn to be food detectives by reading labels and choosing healthy foods devoid of chemicals, pesticides, hormones and hundreds of additives. Even if we only taught the kids to use a blood pressure cuff and a glucose monitor, it would be a positive step.

We have to stop graduating health care dummies who will be a hazard to themselves and a burden to society.

Mike Houlihan, Islip