They try so hard to keep their kids healthy, but parents in New York City say all those organic lunches and fruit salad snacks are losing out to the lure of the ice cream truck.
Parked beside schools and playgrounds, the trucks are acting as pied pipers of the prepubescent set, and the city’s taking cash to make it happen.
The truck’s owners pay a fee to get the prime piece of real estate, and it works. As one mom says, they’ve got a “trapped audience.” Every parent has to walk their kid out of a school building, and ta da, there’s a sweet treat just waiting to be begged for. Other parents decry their placement near the parks, where they’re taking the kids to get exercise (and fight childhood obesity), not load up on snacks.
I feel for them. My day job is near an ice cream stand, and when they open up for the summer, I can hear the soft serve machine calling my name. And I grew up in the “just say no” era. Driving by with my daughter, you’d think we were passing McDonald’s (can we stop, Mommy, please, please?). Fortunately, I can take another route when we leave her nursery school, and she’s rarely the wiser. To have it outside would drive us bananas.
Studies have also shown the nearer a fast food restaurant to a school, the higher risk for obese kids. In other words? If they can see the golden arches – or the freckle-faced girl – they can . . . and will . . . walk there.
It’s hard to ALWAYS be the mom who has to say no without seeming like the heavy. So I can’t blame the parents for being cranky.
But what’s to stop an ice cream stand from opening up near a school? It would be as smart a move as the one that truck driver is making. And nothing’s stopping Mickey D’s and Burger King from moving into the neighborhood. If anything, these trucks are less of a hazard because they’re there on a part-time basis. Fast food joints are here to stay, every day all year long.
And to the parent who says “they might as well be selling drugs,” get a grip. It’s ice cream. It’s not healthy for you, but an occasional cone (she lets her daughter have two a month) is not going to kill them.
Would you be fighting the ice cream truck if it set up shop near your kid’s school? Or would you set some boundaries with your kids?
Image/Source: NY Daily News