Childhood obesity is a debate that many have been discussing for quite some time. There is no denying that there is an epidemic of “fat America,” however, many schools are attempting to find other ways to help combat the issue as they opt out of the federal healthy school lunch program for a large variety of reasons reports KTNV on Aug. 28.
The program is designed to feed children healthier meals during their lunchtime than processed foods or unhealthy options that they likely eat at home or other places. However, many school districts that have tried the program are leaving because it is not benefiting the school or the children. First and foremost, the program came with the incentive to all districts that if they switched, the government would give them a percentage of the profits to help offset the costs of lower income families that receive free or reduced lunch. However, some schools experienced losses upwards of $30,000 just in the first three months of the program because kids weren’t eating the meals at all. Some of these schools claim that they don’t have enough children on the federal free or reduced meal program in their district to make the program worthwhile. Several other school districts are opting out because the program is being seen as wasteful because kids often would refuse to eat the food and simply throw it away.
While many parents are complaining that these kids should be taught to be grateful that they are getting food and their parents should teach them correctly at home, the fact of the matter is that many (parents, teachers, and children) are saying that the food is simply inedible and they can’t force kids to eat it. In further examination of the program, many of the student’s teachers are claiming that even for those that do eat the lunches, they aren’t getting enough calories to sustain them the whole day, especially athletes, so they are not able to focus in class because they are hungry.
The federal healthy school lunch program runs on a strict lower sodium, minimal calorie diet that consists of only 850 calories for high school students, 700 calories for middle school students, and 650 calories for elementary school students. For active children this isn’t enough enough to sustain them throughout the day.
Many are also concerned that the people responsible for implementing the programs aren’t trained in food distribution, therefore, they are offering uneven options to children so that they are only getting things like a hamburger on a whole wheat bun and a banana. Schools are claiming that the additional training that these people need to make the program successful would cripple their efforts and be too costly.
What do you think of the federal school healthy school lunch program? Have you seen the options they feed kids?