Helping Kids Eat Better - Preventing Child Obesity

Junk food in school! As the new years starts millions of people will again start their annual ritual of trying a new diet to control their weight. Many of our children are now part of this group that tries to use the New Year as a time to take control of their eating habits. Now, more than ever, we are hearing about how the obesity rate in children is increasing. According to reports, the percentage of overweight children in the United States has nearly doubled and the percentage of overweight adolescents has nearly tripled during the past two decades.

  Quick Page Outline & Guide
States Making a Difference with Child Obesity
Diabetes in Children
Schools Promoting Junk Food
Why do Schools Promote junk food????
Making a stand against the Schools exploiting our children for a profit
Our Responsibility and Other Links


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Diabetes in Children
Type II Diabetes in Children
But by far the most alarming problem is the number of children now diagnosed with Type II diabetes. Formally considered an adult-onset disease, almost half of all new cases of diabetes diagnosed in children are Type II, and obesity is thought to be the primary culprit. Many experts say that today's sedentary lifestyle is the culprit but others feel it is more of a combination of terribly poor school food and the junk food dilemma.
Even Little Kids Get Diabetes (An Albert Whitman Prairie Book)
By: Connie White Pirner, Nadine Bernard Westcott
A book about a young girl who has had diabetes since she was two years old. It describes her adjustments to the disease. Provides many facts about children with diabetes and helps you to be aware that children can be treated and that they have to be careful on what they eat. Discussions of treatments to help the children or adults stay healthy and live a normal life. This is a must have book More Info click here.
Schools Promoting Junk Food
Junk Food In Schools
As more and more parents give schools more power to select the types of food they offer our children for lunch, we find schools leaning towards profiting off of this task than taking the responsibility of only offering healthy balanced meals. Today Schools look to provide food courts basically in the cafeteria instead of setting an example and teaching good dietary practice. McDonald's, Taco Bell, KFC, Dunkin Donuts, Burger King and the others account for an ever-increasing number of the foods eaten in our schools. More than 4,500 U.S. schools today serve Taco Bell products. The American School Food Service says that more than 30 percent of public high schools now sell name-brand fast food.
What Are We Feeding Our Kids?
By: Michael F., Ph.D. Jacobson, Bruce Maxwell
From Dr. Michael F. Jacobson, author of The Fast-Food Guide, and Bruce Maxwell, here is a necessary guide for every parent. Part expos and part handbook, it's an impeccably researched look at kids, diet, government, schools, and the food industry. He includes some startling information about the sorry state of school lunch programs and advertiser's attempts to woo susceptible young children into unhealthy eating habits. It explains why the same dietary villains afflicting adults-too much fat, cholesterol, sugar, salt-are equally bad for kids. How big food business develops brand loyalty. How the FCC allows junk food advertisers almost unlimited access to children's programming. But it also explains what you can do about it-and how to get your kids on a healthier track. More Info click here.
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Why do Schools Promote junk food????
Why Junk Food In School?
Schools do this because they make more money from it than they would operating their own food services. Some times signing the contract with the new vendor means new sports equipment or other incentives to allow them to move onto the campus to sell their goods. One school administrator in Houston, Texas quoted to me that they need the money and if we want our children to eat properly we should sent them a meal that reflects our dietary beliefs. The problem with this is, if the school promotes eating junk food to the students they will take this as the way they should eat. The other children will ridicule those who bring their lunch to school as un-cool and they will invariably want to eat like all the others. The school is a place where our children look to for guidance with what is right or wrong. Serving junk food to our children automatically makes it okay regardless of what message the school intended to give. I think schools have a much more sacred position in society than to use our children's bad eating habits as a profit-making center to fatten their bank account.
Making a stand against the Schools exploiting our children for a profit
Coming To Grips with schools exploiting our children.
The PTA and parents in general needs to come to grips with this problem and instill in our schools the desire to set example of what our children should eat and be a true educator to our children in dietary issues. It is shortsighted to exploit our children's health to generate revenue when we will be paying for it in many ways in the future. Schools can and should provide an environment that exemplifies a healthy relationship with food.
What some schools are doing to address this problem.
The Kentucky General Assembly is considering legislation, which would set nutritional guidelines for food sold in school vending machines and stores, require more fiber in school lunches, and increase mandated nutritional training for school food-service directors. More school districts and states should do this.
States Making a Difference with Child Obesity
Georgia School Food Service Association (GSFSA)
Georgia is another state that is very vocal about this problem and is active in making changes. Georgia School Food Service Association (GSFSA) recognizes the epidemic of childhood obesity and the role school nutrition programs can play in helping resolve this serious health problem. GSFSA is an active participant in the coalition of health professionals, school nutrition professionals, and educators determined to halt the growing epidemic of obesity and related health problems. They recognize that obesity in the United States cost the health care system $120 billion per year. Recently Georgia reported the greatest increase in adult obesity in the United States. It is estimated that 18% of the adult population in Georgia is obese and 11% of children, affecting 900,000 residents. Overweight children of obese parents are 70% more likely to become obese adults.
California is also trying to make a difference with its' Strategic Alliance to Prevent Childhood Obesity.
The organization in their own words is a strategic alliance that has been formed to address the obesity epidemic in California. This alliance is composed of organizations committed to reducing preventable childhood obesity among California’s children. The alliance recommends action on the following agenda as a first step toward addressing childhood obesity in California.
1. Eliminate competitive foods in elementary schools.
2. Adopt new and enforceable nutritional standards for all competitive foods sold on middle and high school campuses.
3. Eliminate all soda sales and contracts with school districts, for students, teachers, and staff.
4. Eliminate advertising of unhealthy foods on school campuses.
5. Increase State reimbursement, drawn primarily from the current soda tax, for all the school meal programs and move toward universal feeding through an increase use of direct certification and, where appropriate, Provision 2.
6. Give district food service directors control over all foods sold on school campuses and direct all food service monies through the food service departments.
7. Make changes to the WIC food package to include more fresh fruits and vegetables, less high fat cheese and juice and appropriate state funds for the WIC Farmers' Market Program.
8. Make school facilities available after school and on weekends for recreational and fitness use.
9. Enforce current physical education (PE) requirements at all levels and improve the overall quality of PE programs.
10. Commission impact studies to determine the cost and effectiveness of these approaches in achieving behavior change.
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Our Responsibility and Other Links
Our Responsibility and What we can do to help.
It is ultimately our responsibility as parents to help our children to be the best they can health wise and academically. We all should help with this fight to have schools become an integral part of providing balanced and healthy meals to our children.
You need to be an active part of your PTA and let them know your feelings regarding this issue. Make sure the school board is aware of your concerns.
Links to other resourses on child obesity
Preventing Childhood Obesity: A Multi-pronged Approach

REPORT SHOWS JUNK FOOD IS A PROBLEM IN SCHOOLS

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