Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Going after the Girl Scouts
It's Girl Scout cookie season again, but this year I'm probably not going to buy any. I still have a solid stash of Thin Mints in our freezer at home, right next to the Cherry Garcia, in the "I.C.E. box" ("in case of emergency" - it's just comforting to know they are there waiting for me). I've been buying the crispy, cool confections since college, when we'd descend upon the Brownie troop with its little stand at the video store parking lot.

That's why I initially laughed when I heard that the advocacy group National Action Against Obesity is calling for a boycott of Girl Scout cookies.

When I talked to the group's mother-turned-activist founder, MeMe Roth, this is the point she made: They do amazing work, but "is it OK to raise $700 million a year off cookies if you're a civic-minded organization like the Girl Scouts, in the midst of an obesity epidemic?"

After all, more than 18 percent of kids in the United States between ages 6 and 11 are overweight, according to the CDC. That's a lot of chubby little cookie-munchers. MeMe's solution is to gradually wean Girl Scouts off cookies as the group's main fund-raising tool, sometime over the next five, 10, even 20 years. Yipes! No more Samoas?

The Center for Science in the Public Interest seems to be of the same mind. The non-profit organization recently released a report about junk food fund raisers. Did you know that 67 percent of them use baked goods to help raise money for athletic equipment, field trips, and the likes? Instead, the CSPI suggests book fairs, walk-a-thons and other physical activity fund raisers, recycling events (cell phones and printer cartridges for money), and healthy food sales (granola bars anyone?).

Honestly, I'd be willing to consider replacing the school bake sales with some of those healthier activities, sure. But even Cookie Monster knows "a cookie is a sometimes food," so can't we just leave the Girl Scouts alone? I mean, they even cut out most trans fats from their cookies recently. Should we go after these girls as money-raising cookie-pushers? Or is that just downright un-American?
Rosly business attacking the Girl Scouts of America--I would think! Oh me surely that famous once a year cookie sale has not contributed to the obesity of America. I can't imagine that good law abiding -- pledge saying -- badge wearing young ladies would willfully try to fatten up American citizens.
By the way 40 years ago when I was a GSA the cookies were 50 cents a box and you got a box full of cookies. There were enough cookies in a box to make you fat. In today's world the cookies go for 3.50 a box and there are very few cookies per box. Certainly there are not enough in a box to cause obesity. Come on America get off the Girl Scouts. It's all about moderation! Eat a few cookies, walk a little and get up off the couch a little more. What on Earth are we all thinking---get ACTIVE and you can work those cookies right off!
Oh, please....why is it the american way to blame others for their own choices? Now they want to take away that choice....so much for freedom.
When are people going to decide to start taking some personal responsibility for what they eat? We shouldn't have to stop selling Girl Scout cookies because some people refuse to have any kind of will power against eating an entire box at a time, or just because some parents refuse to actually BE PARENTS and limit their childrens' food intake. This is ridiculous. TAKE RESPONSIBILITY and stop making other people pay for other people's mistakes!
Why punish the Girl Scouts for parents not regulating what their children eat.
If it's not Samoas, it will be Oreos.
Parents need to take control of their childs weight, it's not the cookie companies responsibility. Why punish my children who are not overweight because others can't tell their child no or only 1.
I understand that obesity is a problem, but you cannot solve it by removing all forms of sugar and fat from the United States. Girl Scout cookies have been around for a long time and have existed in times when obesity was not an issue. People need to take the responsibility for what they and their children are putting in their mouths. Buying a box of cookies that you eat over the course of a month or two is not the cause of obesity. If you have looked at the girl scout boxes in recent years they show and encourage physical activity and proper health. It is not a cookies fault that the person who eats it won't get up off the couch and take a stroll down the street. Cookie monster has already been changed from the monster I loved in my childhood, don't take my girl scout cookies too!
What a bunch of whiney, selfish comments - "dont' take away my cookies"! The point is not that Girl Scout cookies CAUSE obesity, the point is the message it is sendning. Why shouldn't major fund raising organizations focus on more postive messages? I'm sure that an intelligent, resourceful organization; like the Girl Scouts, could come up with other fund raising ideas that promote health AND raise money. Isn't it a goal of the Girl Scouts organization to be positive role models?
The last time I checked, it wasn't the younger adolescents buying the cookies -- it was the parents. Egging the Girl Scouts into stopping the sale of these cookies does send a message, that parents either don't know feeding too many sweets to their kids will make them obese, they don't know how to say no to their children, or they don't care. Out of the many socially beneficial activities the Girl Scouts engage in, it is just as selfish and self-serving a comment to say that SELLING COOKIES sends a bad message.
What's being suggested here as an alternative, lower fat content in the cookies, or banning them all together.
I agree with a lot of the posts here, where the world is coming to a point of pointing the finger at someone, anyone but themselves! I have gained weight since I quit smoking, do I blame the tobacco industry for keeping my metabolism high and giving me a false sense of security? NO - I blame MYSELF for not eating right in the first place! I will lose the weight if I work at it, not complain about it.
It's a cookie people, they're sold for a month or two out of the year and benefits a good cause. What's next - boycott every elementary school child selling Hershey bars? It's ridiculous!!!
First of all, this year Girl Scout cookies have 0% trans fat. I admire that they took this approach.

Secondly, Girl Scout cookies come once a year -- you can't buy them in a grocery store every day. Certainly everyone deserves a treat once a year!
I admire Girl Scouts for having a reduced fat option, and for eliminating trans fat in their cookies.

Furthermore, the Girl Scout organization does teach healthy eating, exercise, etc. Many of the badges and activities try to educate young girls about these and other important health issues.

As far as a fundraiser, Girl Scout cookies are an American tradition, and this is the largest fundraiser for the Girl Scouts. The money raised contributes to wonderful programs for girls aged 5-18.

Trust me, the obese children in this country aren't overweight because Girl Scout cookies are sold once a year!
You know what? Many of my friends have little girls like mine in girl scouts, and I buy the cookies just to buy them so they can make money. Of course I fight my weight all the time too...but I just can't say no to sweet little girls selling cookies, and what's with schools selling giant chocolate bars every year? Can't they sell stuffed animals or educational toys or something?
Scouts always tell the truth, so with warnings on the boxes for both diabetics and peanut allergy sufferers, perhaps it would be in order to enhance the warnings. It would be even better to offer a choice, with Splenda sweetened, lo carb cookies as an option. Or simply translate the calories in the box into pounds of fat.
This is absolutely nonsense and indicative of why we have an "obesity epidemic". The Girl Scouts have been selling cookies since i was a child, and guess what i am not obese nor was i obese as a child. The girl scouts also sponser numerous activites to get children out and moving instead of taking a sedentary lifestyle. Lets boycott schools since some of them reduce or eliminate physical education and recess time. Lets boycott video games, satellite tv, cable, etc.

This is crazy. The National Action Against Obesity should try something more proactive like pushing for a national physical education program. How about sponsoring sports days and things?
The Food Police need to leave the Girl Scout cookies alone. I grew up with bake sales as fundraisers and have fond memories of eating homemade goodies along with eating those Samoas from the Scouts. I did not grow up to become obese because bake sales and Girl Scout cookies existed. It's up to the parents to teach personal responsibility and not the government or other groups to ban certain foods because society can't control the amount and type of food they eat.
Once again, a professional killjoy goes after an easy target instead of doing something that would really make a difference.

What credentials does this woman have to criticise anyone about anything? There's nothing on her web site to indicate she has any. Or for that matter, that there's anyone but her in her organization.

Why do the media even give space to such people?
Sure, why not stop selling cookies? After all, we are a country that bans prayer from schools, trans fats from entire communities, etc. Let's all focus on these issues, instead of more important issues. Next they'll start mandating exercise in every state.
Give the Girl Scouts a break! They may make millions through the sales of their fattening little treats, but they also teach young girls how to care for themselves, which includes lessons on proper nutrition and exercise. (I can still recall the pages of my Brownie Girl Scout handbook with its brightly colored fruits and veggies!)

The only people responsible for obesity are the obese themselves (or the parents of obese children) for stuffing themselves silly with processed, convenience and fast foods. If America is really so concerned about obesity, it's time everyone put down the remote & the burger, get off the la-z-boy and exercise; using simply their own will-power and initiative to do so.
No-fat, low-calorie, low-carb cookies? Why not eat cardboard? Simple solution: keep the cookies tasting great and walk more! There are thousands upon thousands of things one can do to burn calories. Don't spoil everyone's sweet treat because you want to watch your tv show instead of go for a walk. Let the kiddies fund their trip to science camp and you can have a nightly reward or dessert for doing some exercise!

My idea? Buy 3 boxes of cookies, get a free jumprope or pedometer!
One thing that really stands out in this blog, whenever a post is written with regard to junk food:

The readers of this blog are INCREDIBLY defensive about their sugar, a very damaging anti-nutrient. Very interesting, and something to ponder, doncha think?
Boycotting girl scout cookies is insane. If you don't want your kids to be obese, don't give them tag a longs for breakfast lunch and dinner. But I'll be darned if I'm not going to have a couple after dinner. I agree with cookie monster.
Speaking as someone who hasn't ordered or eaten a Girl Scout cookie in about five years, and therefore isn't someone who is "defensive of her sugar" I have to agree that personal responsibility is the key here.

There's nothing wrong having an occasional cookie, or even two or three. So why should they stop selling them?

People should either 1) Stop buying and eating several boxes at a time or 2) Stop complaining about their weight.
I think banishing these Girl Scout Cookies would do no good.
Americans are full of problems and just want someone to blame for it. They are trying to blame some 12 year old girls that sell cookies for all the obesity in america? please... blame all the parents who let kids shove down as much food as they want, and dont get off the couch besides to eat or sleep. Basically, I dont think they should be pointing fingers, because there are alot more issues here than some yummy cookies.
Consuming a few cookies a day will NOT cause obesity.

It seems this country is getting bloated by watchdog groups such as �National Action Against Obesity�.

I have an idea! You regulate what you put in your mouth and I�ll do the same with mine. Together we will take responsibility for our own actions.
Why do we have to cut out girl scout cookies? People have to start taking responsibilities for their actions and what they put in there mouths and bodies. Yes cookie monster did say it right, "cookies are a sometimes food."
I agree--Girl Scouts sell cookies once a year. If you buy a box or two once a year, and consume them slowly (how else will you be able to enjoy thin mints a month from now if you don't moderate your consumption?), it shouldn't be diastrous to your overall diet. If, on the other hand, you buy the cookies by the case and stack them in the freezer for daily or weekly binges, well, that's just expensive and you probably have bigger food issues to deal with.
What ever happened to taking responsibility for your own life? Do we need to blame all of our weaknesses and faults on everyone else? Girl Scouts? Come on now. I thought we had control of ourselves. I remember the line "The Devil Made Me Do It". Is it now...I'm sorry Weight Watchers Group but these Girls Scouts came to my door demanding that I eat at least one box of each of their flavors of cookies or they would not be able to go on that Disneyland Whirlwind Trip.
We have become a very sad society when we need to lay blame on others for things that we as individuals are responsible for.
I wonder why people are so frightened to talk to their young kids about sex. Start early. Kids will be less likely to experiment on their own, less likely to believe the playground rumours. We can stick our heads in the sand until our kids are 18 then hope for the best. Or, we can start early, educate our children and equip them to make informed, comfortable decisions about their own health in the future. Having been diagnosed and treated for HPV, I agree that a shot to prevent is a huge advance. My insurance doesn't cover it yet, but when it does, my two daughters will be in line. They have been asking when can we get the shots?

Train your children in the way they should go.
The Girls Scouts of America, founded on March 12, 1912, is an American tradition. I myself, and many of the women I know have been involved in Girls Scouts at some point in their lives. I buy Girl Scout cookies during fund raising season because I love them! They are one of a kind and they are delicious. And for this reason I keep them in my freezer and once and a while throughout the year eat a few. Maybe the problem isn't junk food fundraising, or in this case delicious once a year, one of a kind cookie fundraising, but SELF CONTROL. This is in my opinion, the problem at hand. If adults first learned, and then taught their children self control and appropriate eating habits this wouldn't even be in question. So how about instead of attacking the most well known organization designed soley for girls and young women, maybe we should be teaching EVERYONE healthy lifestyles. I'm not incredibly overweight but I know I could use a lesson. One of my favorite quotes "It will be a great day when schools get all money they need and the Air Force has to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber". Lets not take away bake sales and make this quote irrelevant please.
This is the stupidest thing I have ever heard. Try a little moderation! 1 or 2 cookies is not a big deal, do we really need the government or some organization to control what we eat! I for one enjoy a thin mint or samoa everyonce in awhile. This doesn't mean that I need someone to keep me from eating the entire box at one sitting! Use a little common sense. We should be able to monitor the amount of junk our children are eating in a day. Will their next step be going after my morning Starbucks?
Must we close all bakeries, fast food restaurants, Frito-Lay plants, ice cream parlors, and cheese shops because obesity places blame on the supplier?

For those with no self-control, abstinence may be the only answer. For those who can fight the temptation of reaching for the third cookie, Girl Scout cookies provide tremendous satisfaction not only to the palate but with funds that provide untold opportunities for girls.
Girls scout cookies are just the tip of the iceberg! There is always an occasion at school to have candy. Public school promotes the habit of candy eating in every turn. By the time you are done with Halloween, thanks giving come around, buy the time you get done with that celebration (and of course more candy eating) there is Christmas and its parties over flowing with candy. After that there is valentine day, which is synonymous with candy. By the time you are done with that, there is Easter and then the end of the year parties. And in between there are Girl Scout cookies, all kind of fundraising in which kids would be made feel guilty if they don�t buy anything (however in most cases they don�t even need incentive to buy more candy). When it comes to what my kids eat, I have been very proactive in teaching them what is good or bad since I believe good eating habits start in childhood. But let�s face it you can�t say no to an 8 year old all the time when everywhere he looks all other kids and teachers are having candy.
OK WAIT JUST A DOGONE MUNUTE!!! I'm a Girl Scout Troop Leader. As for the Pines of Carolina Girl Scout council we have tried ohter fund raisers in addition to selling cookies. I can't speak for the whole council but guess which one raised more money for my troop? Come on try! Ok enough sarcsm. Actually GSUSA has taken all of the trans fats and cholesterol out of our cookies. However some, some are still pretty high in saturated fat and guess what? Those are the ones that people order most! Some of the others are actually not that bad WHEN EATEN IN MEDERATION! Here's a break down for you.Thin Mints 4 cookies 4.5g or 23% sat. fat, Samoas 2cke. 5g 25%, All Abouts 2cke 3g 15%,TreFoils 5cke 2g 10%,Cafe Cookies 5cke 2g 10%,TagAlongs 2 cke 4g 20%,DoSiDos2 cke 1.5g 8%, and finally, OK get this one ironically enough Sugar free Little Brownies 4cke 4.5g 23% Scouts provides a nutrition information list but BELIEVE IT OR NOT NOT THAT MANY PEOPLE LOOK AT IT! sorry I thought I was finished w/ the sarcasm. The bottom line is this folks WE have to moniter what and how much our kids and ourselves eat AND exercise. Are we telling McDonalds to close their doors? Are we telling Ceral companies to only sell rasin bran, corn flakes, and grape nuts. Are we telling milk producers to only sell 1%, or how about telling meat packers to only sell turkey and skinless chicken breasts. NO we aren't and these people are making money for personal gains. Girl Scouts helps pay summer camp fees, trip fees, registration fees for girls and troops who need it. They also pay training registration fees for leaders who can't afford to pay for it themselvers. SO BACK OFF!( speaking from my point of view not Pines of Carolina's)
What! Lets just go ban choclate.
It is bad for you.Why ban the occasional cookie? i am a girl scout and I rely on the money.You sell them once a year.This is stupid.
The following information is found on the Girl Scout website, "In recent years, data has emerged suggesting that, in fact, trans fats are not a healthier choice than saturated fats. Girl Scouts of the USA is proud to announce that all Girl Scout cookies are now "zero trans fat per serving."
It appears the cookies nutritional analysis (littlebrowniebakers.com) is misleading in that it indicates "Trans Fat 0g," however, the ingredients still include Partially Hydrogenated Veg Oil, a source of trans fat!!

In addition, five out of the eight GS cookies still contain MORE than 10% of calories from saturated fat. The 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends to consume less than 10% of calories from saturated fat, less than 300 mg/day of cholesterol, and keep trans fatty acid consumption as low as possible.

Perhaps the company that produces these cookies should look at methods to replace the saturated fat and partially hydrogenated veg oil with monounsaturated fats for next year?
I quit the Girl Scout Cookie habit a few years ago in spite of the modifications to the cookies. Besides, I haven't seen a Girl Scout selling Girl Scout Cookies in my area for awhile now as that's been supplanted by the SUV Girl Scout Mommies preforming the annual sales drive function for them. It's getting to be just another business going down I'm afraid.

Shouldn't these women be selling cosmetics and allowing their daughters to learn to meet the public and sell their program as they develop their minds and social skills. If they are that worried about the safety of their daughters they can go with them and stand on the sidewalk with their cell camera the way they do on Halloween eve.

In spite of the soaring sales figures and the corrections to bring forth a healtier product, physical health is only one side of the issue. Mental health should be a consideration too. When girls lugged the boxes of cookies door to door together taking and selling cookies they developed their minds and bodies. Somehow girls sitting in the back of the SUV watching Britany videos on the DVD player while mommie does the cookie selling, don't impress me much.

If the wife and I wish to buy Girl Scout Cookies we want to buy them from the Girl Scout. Not a Mommie representing her, or from the aunt's beauty salon.
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