Let's fight childhood obesity! Sounds like a slam dunk. However, Michelle Obama's attempt to serve healthier school meals isn't a hit with kids. As a result, school district’s food service executives say that costs are up and revenues are down.
An investigative report by a Cincinnati TV station finds that the government's new school lunches are wasting $4 million a day in discarded food that children won't eat. A new Harvard study of the program "shows that 60 percent of fresh vegetables and 40 percent of fresh fruit are being thrown away."
The First Lady responded saying that anyone who criticizes her program is "playing politics" with "our children's future."
Kathleen Presley, a 4th grader at a Los Angeles area school, summed up her lunches purchased at school in one word: "Yuck!" Kathleen and her friends talked over each other as they spoke about the worst foods "greasy sweet potato fries and tacos" and the best "sugar cinnamon coffee cake". Sugar? Of course.
On his Facebook page, New York Times writer Nicholas Confessore shared: "I spent a few months this summer diving into the strange and fascinating world of the American school lunch -- and the Obama administration's experiment in transforming what kids eat every day. One of my big takeaways was that it is very hard to make school food a dietary lever against bad eating unless you can also change how kids eat outside the school".
The new nutrition guidelines championed by First Lady Michelle Obama are having an impact not only on students but on parents too. Robert Allan has two grade school children. "I used to be able to send them off to school confidant that they would get a hot meal and snack. Now my daughters say they didn't eat anything but chips and cookies from a friend's homemade lunch. We're going to have to pay more to pack lunches now".
A complex issue, the New York Times tackled the subject in a Facebook discussion on Thursday. Parent support, education and the role of government was discussed.
Is the government playing too big a role in school lunches? Time will tell if the program survives and how it impacts childhood obesity.