Let’s Fight Back
October 28, 2012
Let’s Fight Back
American’s children are faced with skyrocketing obesity rates. Over the last thirty years obesity rates have seen an increase of 300%. Patricia Crawford of Medscape Education Diabetes & Endocrinology states, “Children born in 2000 have a 1-in-3 chance of developing type 2 diabetes during their lifetime, and 70% of obese 5-to-17 year-olds in a population-based study had at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease”. If the outcome of childhood obesity is not turned around, humankind will have to endure the discomfort and cost of many obesity related chronic diseases.
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g., fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and 1% or nonfat milk) and decrease servings of foods higher in fat, sugar, and sodium. Among the requirements for school meals in the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act is:
Ÿ Reduction in the quantity of starchy vegetables to one cup per week.
Ÿ In a ten year period decreasing the amount of sodium in meals. On average a high school meal has 1,600 milligrams of sodium. Small steps will be taken to lower the amount to 740 milligrams or less of sodium for grades 9th through 12th; 710 milligrams or less for grades 6th through 8th; 640 milligrams or less for kindergarten through 5th grade.
Ÿ The setup of a maximal and minimal calorie count. Lunch: 550 to 650 calories for kindergarten through 5th grade; 600 to 700 for grades 6th through 8th; 750 to 850 for grades 9th through 12th.
Ÿ Provide students will only unflavored 1% milk or fat-free flavored or unflavored milk. At this time, schools can supply students with milk of whatever fat content they choose.
Ÿ Raise the amount of fruits and vegetables offered. The new rule feels that its necessary for fruits to be provided daily at breakfast and lunch and that two servings of vegetables be provided daily at lunch
Ÿ Raise the amount of whole grains abundantly. Right now, whole grains have no requirement, but the new rule would enforce that at least half the grains being served be whole grains.
Ÿ The new rule wants the use of products claiming zero grams of trans-fat per serving on the labels to reduce trans-fat.
Table 2 shows a before and after elementary school lunch menu. In order to put this plan in motion, program funding will need a small increase, an amount that’s lower when considering possible medical expenses if changes are not made to better child nutrition. The USDA reports, “The new standards are expected to cost $3.2 billion over the next five years – less than half of the estimated cost of the proposed rule”. In 2008, an estimated $147 billion was spent on medical coverage on adults with obesity related issues. Putting this plan in motion could help our children in the future by not having to worry about the medical cost involved with obesity. Childhood obesity is on a huge rise, so the sooner we start the better off our children will be.
The benefits of this program, by far, are very important to our children, especially to children who are already facing problems with obesity. As stated by Patricia Crawford, “Structuring school food provisions to encourage, promote, and support healthy eating offers unique opportunity to reach nearly all children on the greatest number of days per year with supportive environments that promote their optimal growth and development. In addition, recent studies point to improved academic performance for students who receive improved nutrition and physical activity at school”.
In conclusion, changes that the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act will provide for more than 41 million meals served per day are...