It's that time. Thin mints, Samoas (er, make that "Caramel deLites"), Peanut Butter Patties. Yum. But this year your friendly Girl Scout troop will have some new offerings, including 100-calorie packs printed with activities that girls can do to burn off the cookie calories. “Girls can burn calories and have fun with 30 minutes of activities like these: Ice Skating—126 calories. Gymnastics—72 calories…” Oh, no they didn't.
I feel for the Girl Scouts. I really do. I'm sure they've come under fire for contributing to the much-discussed childhood obesity epidemic when they're just trying to raise money for their programs by selling some sweet treats. Their ABC Smart Cookies website is clearly an attempt to show that they care about girls' health, which they shouldn't have to prove to anyone considering that the organization has been helping girls since 1912. I'm all for encouraging girls to be active, but providing calorie counting and burning tips is a slippery and dangerous slope. This seems like a glaring example of an attempt at obesity prevention that is just ripe for major backfiring. And research shows that many similar initiatives are resulting in disordered eating and an unhealthy fear of fat in kids.
To be honest, my stomach drops when I imagine girls eating their little packs of Cinna-Spins, then checking the Girl Scouts calorie counter to see how they should burn off the calories. Actually, I think I feel too sick about it to eat any cookies now. [Ken Levine] [Girl Scouts]