By: Ali Al-Rajhi
The New Security Threat
After watching Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution on ABC, I’ve began to look at school lunches in a new light and how it is contributing to our nation’s childhood-obesity problems. Across the nation, teachers may be educating their students on proper nutrition; but the issue, in my opinion, arises when that education is not supplemented with schools offering healthy foods during lunch. I’m not surprised to what some people have labeled school lunches: “national security threat.”
When students understand the health benefits of a proper nutrition (e.g., physical and mental health, improved concentration during class, etc) and that a healthy meal can be flavorful, then grounding healthy nutrition habits can be actualized.
So what does it take to bring about change? I don’t know the miracle solution, however I believe that change must start with the parents. In general, parents are naturally protective of their children and want what is best for them. The “Food Revolution” showed how shocked parents were once they realized that flavored milk had more sugar than soda, the amount of fat in processed meats offered in such meals as Sloppy Joes, and that french-fries satisfied the FDA’s vegetable requirements in school lunches. Also, educating parents and their children that eating healthy does not mean having to spend a lot at the supermarket. It is very possible to eat healthy on a budget – check out THIS article. Lastly, children will follow by example as stated by Dr. David Ludwig: “When children are young, they want to do what their parents do,” he says. “It can be so easy if you start from the beginning”…check out his article HERE.
Overall, if we can combine education with action, change can be actualized. It’s shocking to think the current generation is the first generation predicted to have a shorter life span then their parents.
HERE is an interesting research article that assesses school lunches in relation to the nation’s obesity problems. You will only need to read the conclusion section on page 27 of 43.
Additional Information on thhe medical, psychosocial, and economic impacts of obesity:
Wyatt, S.B., Winters, K.P., and Dubbert, P.M. (2006). Overweight and obesity: Prevalence, consequences, and causes of a growing public healthy problem. American Journal of Medical Science, 331(4), 166-174.