My big boy (4) had a sleep over at Sydney Children’s Hospital recently and with hand on my heart, I cannot sing higher praises of the super hero staff who cared for him, and me, during this time. Still, I expected more. Why? Because they served him chocolate milk with dinner.
Please, please don’t think me ungrateful for the dedicated professionals, equipment and facilities available to most children in NSW for free. However, Sydney Children’s Hospital’s mission is to ‘improve the health and wellbeing of children and their families through promoting wellness and caring for illness effectively, efficiently, compassionately and equitably’ – so why has this not extended to the food served at children’s beds?
The quality and health value of food is such a hot topic now. Everyone is banging on about it. Discussions, research and experts can be found on fat, sugar, carbs, fructose, hormones, organic, cruelty free, etc across every form of media. It’s not new news that chocolate milk, white bread, orange juice and a sweet yogurt served along a main of meat and veggies is probably a little too much sweet for anyone’s tooth let alone a child in hospital.
UK celebrity chef, Jaime Oliver is currently on a whirlwind trip here and has a lot to say on chocolate milk: “Sugar is a contributor to the health problems that are harming our kids. Sugary drinks are often called “liquid candy”, and are an easy way for kids to consume large amounts of added sugar. Several studies have shown that drinking sugar-sweetened beverages is linked to obesity and risk for chronic disease. Flavored milk is a sugary drink, along with soda, sports drinks and many juice drinks, but the majority of these studies did not include it, and there has been very little research to directly investigate the effects of flavored milk on children’s health. The few studies that have been conducted were sponsored by the dairy industry”. (http://www.jamieoliver.com/us/foundation/jamies-food-revolution/home)
Could this be the case here? I’m yet to find out. What I do know is that children’s hospitals are in a unique role model position for families. I however, am not, (yet a role model for the greater public) and for the record don’t always feed my family incredibly, good for you, food but I certainly do when I’m trying to get them well!
****No children were harmed (that we know of) drinking chocolate milk during our stay.