I am a very nutritionally conscious person. Always very interested in holistic/integrative health and nutrition, and have read a lot. I enjoy cooking healthy and eating well. my husband and I both like to eat. our kids have good appetites too, and eat tons of veggies. but still I have to fight the urge "overfeed" them. I know that they don't need to eat every hour. but it is such an easy way to make them happy, or make them behave in the store. I find that if I have juice in the house, I will end up giving it to them even though I don't like them to have it. same with crackers and other junk. everyone on my side of the family is healthy/ thin, and my husband has lots of overweigh/obese on his side. I am so worried that my kids will end up overweight. I try not to buy any snack food. they love cucumbers and fruit. and they don't like us to bring our own food to daycare, so they get the group meals/snacks there. I see what a conscious effort it is for me to make sure my kids are eating healthy and not too much in a world that is just flooded with empty calories everywhere. and the ideal diet is so very very far from the typical american diet. it really requires a LOT more than small changed and an extra half hour per day of exercise. I am not surprised that this is happening. we have not evolved to handle excess.
there was a really wonderful talk by an integrative pediatric endocrinologist at stanford on youtube a bit ago on this topic, and how sugar, (mainly fructose) is the principal culprit. a little extra exercise can't make up for hundreds of extra calories daily, which you can easily consume in a single granola bar or bag of chips. it is a bit grim, but I think it may be too lofty an expectation to expect all parents to be able to keep their kids ideal weight in this society.
also, I heard a study once on audio digest talking about pediatric quality of life scores. Overweight kids scored lowest, worse than kids with cancer, HIV, developmental disorders or physicial handicaps. It is tragic, and epidemic. Sugary, fatty, salty foods cause dopamine release. it feels good to eat- just like drugs. it certainly is a huge problem.
Sorry I'm late reading this/replying, but regarding the peanut issue - I realize it is inconvenient, and may seem over-the-top if you've never lived it, but it is life-or-death. Truly is. I've anaphylaxed several times (getting worse every time) by eating things that weren't supposed to contain peanuts. I have nasty reactions when inhaling peanut dust (airplane, sitting in a room full of peanuts, talking to someone who just ate peanuts). I stop short of using the Epi-Pen in those situations, but need good doses of anti-histamines!
The thing with little kids and lunch is there is no way that teachers could enforce no contact between the allergic child and the other kids lunch. Kids share their food. Kids are in each's face all the time. They touch everything. They put stuff in their mouths. Little fingers full of peanut touch table/toys/clothing, other little fingers touch same objects and put fingers in mouth. That's all it takes. I had a patient anaphylax from eating chips from a bowl, when another person picked chips from same bowl after eating peanuts 30 minutes before! We're not talking bitefuls here. Trace amounts are enough to kill you if you're highly sensitized!
(agree though that banning food "made in a facility that processes peanuts" is over-the-top, as this is likely a CYA statement for foods that have zero peanut in them - I wouldn't give them to the child, but I would be okay for the other kids to have it. But real peanuts or peanut butter as an actual ingredient? No way. Thank god my kids are not allergic; I would have a hard time sending them to school!)