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School Lunches Lead To Obesity In Our Children

1485 words - 6 pages

Nationally, about 17% of people under the age of 20, about 12.5 million are considered obese. School districts that serve students food that are high in calories and fat are to blame for the growing numbers of obese children. Although school lunches provide students food at minimal costs, the poor quality of food served delivers inadequate nutrition and is responsible for the rising numbers of obese minors in the United States. In order to combat this growing problem, school districts must limit student choices in the lunchroom and provide healthier food nationally. Although some school districts may argue this, it is necessary to do so as school districts in Pennsylvania and Mississippi and ...view middle of the document...

In a JAMA Pediatric study, there was very little evidence that students compensated for the strict school lunch rules by purchasing sweetened and low nutritious foods from other venues (Taber). The problem begins to surface when students are fed food in schools that have low nutritional value.
Even though many students consume most of their calories off campus, studies show that school districts that serve healthy school meals and limit foods low in nutritional value have lower rates of obesity. The state of Philadelphia reported a 5.5% drop in obesity rates of students in their school districts. California reported a 5% drop and New York a 4% drop. These numbers were collected between 2007 through 2012 (Eagle). Researchers are unclear of the reasons behind the decrease in obesity. However, what these states all have in common is that they are all fighting the battle of obesity through stricter lunch options. The School District of Pennsylvania established new lunch policies in 2004. With the implementation of the new policies, deep fryers were disposed after the district stopped buying oil to fill them. Whole milk was superseded by skim milk. The district also put limits on the size of chip bags and got rid of unhealthy foods and soft drinks that were previously served. Through 2011 and 2012, the School District of Philadelphia reported another 2.5% decrease in obesity prevalence of students. The district regularly takes measurements of students throughout the school year. The decreases of overweight children in the School District of Pennsylvania serve as evidence that providing healthy meals to students and limiting the unhealthy choices decreases the prevalence of obesity among schoolchildren. Several other states also display similar and promising statistics.
In order to explain the decreased rate of childhood obesity among students, Margo Wootan, director of nutrition policy for the Center for Science in the Public Interest stated that “We are seeing decreases in obesity in places where they are making a concerted effort to address the problem, mostly in schools.” A report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation shows that obesity in minors in Mississippi dropped from 43% in 2007 to 37.3% in 2011 (Hellmich). This was the highest drop in child obesity in the country. Starkville School District in Mississippi adopted the new standards of school lunch nutrition that was implemented by the state of Mississippi in 2007. In addition to the new regulations, Starkville School District took an initiative and discarded all the deep fryers in the school. The fryers were replaced with ovens that could prepare food in a healthier way. The district also provided meals to students that were healthier and more nutritious. Companies who often sold food directly to students through the school are also not allowed anymore to advertise their food to students (Whitfield). The only food advertisements are those that encourage healthy eating habits. The...

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