About 17% of children between the ages of 2 and 19 are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Are children being fed well in schools? By changing food policies in school facilities at an affordable price, will this help with childhood and adolescent obesity?
Michelle Obama has made new nutrition rules for school meals to help with the high rate of childhood obesity. Schools must offer more vegetables, fruits and whole grains however, there is concern about the cost of these fresh foods. For the first time, the Department of Agriculture is setting calorie limits on school cafeteria meals. For example, for kindergarteners through fifth grade, lunch meals must contain no more than 650 calories on average. This limit goes up to 700 calories for grades six through eigth grade and 850 for calories for grades 9-12.
Schools that participate in these lunch and breakfast programs next school year, won’t be able to serve whole milk and must offer non-fat milk. Flavored milk will also only be available if it is non-fat. This is geared toward lowering the amount of saturated fat a child consumes during the day. One source of saturated fat the agency wasn’t able to cut down on is the french fry. Schools will be required to offer students ¾ to one cup of vegetables, plus ½ to one cup of fruit, a day. That is about double the amount they have been required to offer. However, students will only be required to put about half that amount on their trays in fear of children simply throwing away what wasn’t wanted. Also, by the 2014-15 school year, all grain products must be whole-grain, the agency said.
I believe that this is a wonderful step in the right direction. Of course school costs will go up, but in the end it will be worth it if it could help fight against childhood obesity. In the long run, these small steps can teach children the proper way to eat and get into the habit of putting nutrient dense foods into their bodies rather than high fat, high sugary foods.
Wouldn’t it be great to stop childhood obesity? Do you think this a step in the right direction? Thoughts? Comments?