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Childhood Obesity: School Lunch Battle Won…How Goes the War?

In January of 2012, First Lady Michelle Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today unveiled new standards for school meals. These are the first major improvements to school lunch programs in more than fifteen years and are expected to improve the health and nutrition of nearly 32 million kids that participate in school meal programs every school day across the nation.

Under the new rules:

  • Schools will be required to double the servings of vegetable and fruits per meal.
  • All grains must be whole grains and only low-fat and fat-free milk will be served.
  • There will also be limits on the amount of trans fat and salt in each meal.
  • Additionally, for the first time, there will be age-based minimum and maximum calorie levels set per day.
  • A sample “Before / After Elementary School Lunch Menu” is available for download here

    According to Sarah Fudin, Social Media and Outreach Coordinator for MAT@USC (the Master of Arts in Teaching program for the University of Southern California), “Childhood obesity has become parents’ number one health concern – ahead of smoking and drug abuse.

    We have won a significant battle here!

    On the other hand, US kids watch approximately 44.5 hours a week of television and are exposed to approximately 30,000 TV ads per year, half of which are for candy, snacks, sugary cereal and fast food.  Can we truly be surprised that 1/3 of our children are either overweight or obese?

    In an effort to support the nutritional standards for school meals and our teachers and students, MAT@USC has created an infographic, “Targeting Children with Treats” with statistics sharing lifestyle, consumption, and media activity relating to children.

    Can we afford to relax after winning 1 battle?  What do you think?

    Brought to you by Teach.com and MAT@USC.