English 102 Section 024
22 September 2016
My general topic of the research I have been doing is childhood obesity and the food served in public schools around the country. While a lot of advocates for childhood obesity voice their opinion over a television or radio station, they are completely missing where the root of the problem is – public schools. Public schools in America feed most of our children at least half of their meals every day (Let’s Move). While the food being served is slowly starting to improve, it surely is not an effective way to help children find balance in their diets and prevent childhood obesity in it’s early days. In 2012, the Department of Agriculture finally laid down new laws that have led to a slow improvement of the food being served in public schools. These rules included meals have more whole grains, fruits, and vegetables while decreasing the amount of sodium and fat. Portion sizes were also corrected and adjusted based on age and sex of the children to ensure they would be fed the correct amount of calories needed for healthy development (Let’s Move). These new regulations seem like a big step for those who blame the federal government and public schools for their child’s health problems, but many still do not agree. Even though more nutritional options are available, one has to wonder how nutritional the food being served really is if it is just being microwaved and reheated to be served to the students. School cafeterias are designed to heat or chill food. They do not have the capabilities of making fresh meals in the kitchens, because they are not provided with adequate tools. “Mashed potatoes from a box, chicken nuggets, and chocolate milk “ (The school lunch wars), this is how a student’s meal was described by a former professional cook and a current school cook. Even though this was served before the new regulations made, lunches similar to this are being served except now students are provided with a fruit cup. This is the issue parents, teachers, cafeteria cooks, and even students are trying to attack head on. While healthier options are available to students now, there are still major improvements that need to happen in order to really attack such a growing issue like childhood obesity.One of the most well-known people in the world has addressed this topic and taken the cause under her wing to try and help, Michelle Obama. The First Lady of the United States of America has since made it her mission to make America, especially the children, see the benefits and needs to eating healthy. She helped create the Let’s Move campaign that is dedicated to giving people options for living healthier lifestyles. Michelle said, “The physical and emotional health of an entire generation and the economic health and security of our nation is at stake” (Let’s Move). She has seen how improvements in technology and industrialization in America has led to the rapid growth of obesity. Dedicated to helping the children of America start on the right path, Michelle Obama helped pass the 2011 laws and offered monetary incentives to schools that participated in her HealthierUS School Challenge. Many have voiced their opinion about needing change and fighting obesity in America. While some of these voices were heard and caused new rules to be put in place regarding public school food, it seems they were passed to hush the crowd and please them for the time being. What the people are not realizing is how big this issue really is. To really make a difference and improve our children’s lives we not only have to provide more fruits and vegetables, but assure the quality of the food being served is deemed healthy. While a fruit cup is much better than a side of French fries, the sugar, syrup, and preservatives added into those fruit cup only cause a reverse effect. If real change is wanted by the American people, the American government needs to take a step up and make changes that will be seriously effective in today’s society.
“Healthy Schools” Let’s Move, 2014, http://www.letsmove.gov/healthy-schools.
Hinman, Kristen. “The school lunch wars: sixty-five years ago, the federal school lunch program was created to make American schoolchildren healthier. Today, it helping to make them fatter. Will a new law change the diets of millions of kids raised on French fries and chicken nuggets?” The Wilson Quarterly 35.2 (2011): 16+. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 22 Sept. 2016.