My daughter has a sweet tooth, and in executing her best efforts to get at the cupcakes, ice cream and other treats that come into our life from time to time, well, she's pretty adorable. She's only three, and when she's making a bat-out-of-hell beeline for the cupcakes before the party host has even finished the sentence, "It's time to sing Happy Birthday!" you have to laugh.
But I do recognize that part of the reason it's funny is because, overall, I'm not that worried about what she eats. I don't mean that it's a free for all in our house. Quite the opposite. I care a lot about our food choices - where our food comes from, that we stay away from processed foods, and that there are always plenty of fruits and vegetables available - and that's why occasional treats are just fine. That's why I feel we can have a relaxed attitude about food: because in general, we're doing pretty good.
We're lucky because we can find good, healthy food locally, as well as afford it. However, the problem is bigger than what my family does. Or yours.
That being said, there are some great resources and commentaries when it comes to the obesity problem in our country. Yale's Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity recently launched the SPARK site, an excellent tool for navigating the complicated issue of nutrition at our schools.
Also check out Mark Bittman's blog for The New York Times, in which he often touches on the issue of food-related health, as well as links to some of his longer print pieces on the subject, like the must-read "Is Junk Food Really Cheaper?"