13 February 2013
Healthy Eating in School
In Anne Allison’s essay Japanese Mothers and Obentos she argues that making obentos is a manipulation of the Ideological State Apparatus. In Japanese culture, the I.S.A. promotes women staying in the home and managing the children’s school affairs while the husband goes to work. So, in essence, she has more time to devote to these extravagant lunches. American lunches don’t follow the same pattern because the traditional family structure that is more prevalent in Japan just isn’t the norm in America. The food culture, and the way our society is shaped is completely different. The I.S.A. in America promotes eating healthy as a way to prevent obesity, but lacks the discipline aspect that the Japanese I.S.A. instills through the obentos.
In Japan all of the mothers pack an obento for their children to take to school, but a lot of children in America come from single parent homes where the mother works and doesn’t have the time to pack lunches. In traditional families, if the child does have a packed lunch it’s usually healthy- a sandwich, fruit and a drink. But most children eat the lunch the school provides. The government has guidelines for the nutritional value and price of the lunches, but these American schools, unlike their Japanese counterparts, also have vending machines and school stores that offer unhealthy snacks like candy, chips, and soda. Kids consume about 30%- 50% of their calories while at school (Hellmich) so that’s probably part of the reason why there is a childhood obesity epidemic in America. This isn’t as much of a concern in Japan whose obesity rates have only increased .1% per year from 1976 to 2000. (Fisher) The U.S. increase was twice as rapid.
In America people are bombarded by an I.S.A. that encourages us to be consumers and indulge and yet be thin and healthy. Less effort is put into the preparation of food than the taste. When...