Friday, January 27, 2012

New Rules for School Meals Leads to Reducing Obesity

What Children Eat Matters!

After the Food Industry won a vote in Congress to block the administration from carrying out an earlier proposal that would have reduced starchy foods like potatoes and prohibited schools from counting a small amount of tomato paste on a slice of pizza as a vegetable. Michelle Obama and the Obama Administration took a visit to Parklawn Elementary School in Virginia, and announced the changes that were going to take place. Along with serving more greens and fruits in the daily meals served at school, all milk served must be low fat, and for the first time the rules set limits on levels of salt and trans fat. They also set a minimum and maximum calorie intake per day based on student age. However, the government estimates that the rules will add about $3.2 billion in costs to the program, about half the cost of the proposed rules that were blocked last year. Everyone seems to be happy about the new changes and the excitement it will bring to elementary schools, except the National Potato Council (yes, this is a real group).   

I believe that this is a really important topic to discuss especially in Elementary schools because it has gotten out of control. I think it is so easy for parents to just give kids whatever they want for breakfast and lunch, thinking that they’re young and it won’t affect them. Obesity can start in children at such a young age. Putting the money and effort into children’s school lunch can make a huge difference in their performance. Instead of consuming a high amount of sugar, it can be replaced with fruits and vegetables and the nutrition they need. Children need energy throughout the day and practicing healthy eating habits at school will eventually transfer to their homes and parents will be more likely to cook healthy meals instead of fast food for dinner. I think it was a great idea to pass a law like this, and although some people might blow it off as a waste of time, I think it was very considerate for Michelle Obama and their Administration team to take the time and visit elementary schools. I hope that all elementary schools will be able to catch on the new law passed and have children eat a healthy, solid meal every day. According to the article, “About 32 million children participate in school meal programs each day. The new rules are a major component of Mrs. Obama’s campaign to reduce the number of overweight children through exercise and better nutrition.” This is a positive step in the right direction of improving children in the education system. 

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