Flash Forward: Childhood Obesity and the Future of School Lunches

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Alina Bernardini checks the temperature of pizzas as they come out of the oven during preparations for serving students lunch at Everglades High School on November 18, 2011 in Miramar, Florida. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images/Getty)

A 2011 University of Michigan study of more than a thousand middle school students found that those who regularly ate school lunches were 29 percent more likely to be obese than those who brought lunch from home. Of course, what a child eats for lunch is just one of many factors that determines whether he or she becomes overweight or obese. But many schools' dependence upon revenue from vending machines and brand-name fast-food over the past decade may be a tipping point.

Tony Geraci, executive director of child nutrition for Memphis City public schools, where 17 percent of high school students are obese, and Marion Nestle, professor of nutrition at New York University and author of "Safe Food: The Politics of Food Safety," discuss the challenges of feeding children in schools.

Comments [7]

Bill from New Hampsire

Child obesity can be curbed with education, Start at the school level, 1st start with feeding the kids a healthy nutritious meal and for the kids that bring their lunch, "junk food" is not considered a healthy snack.
Have the staff start teaching how to eat healthy, well balanced meals. The school that my children started this type of program and the kids brought home, the "we can't have that for a snack, let's try fruit instead.
After speaking with other parents, we were not the only parents who were being informed the type of food they can bring to school.

Feb. 14 2012 08:12 AM
Darliene Howell from USA

I would like to recommend the free NAAFA Child Advocacy ToolkitSM (CATK) and other written guidelines/resources to assist you looking at programs.

A Yale Rudd Center report reviewed existing research on weight stigma in children and adolescents, with attention to the nature and extent of weight bias toward obese youths and to the primary sources of stigma in their lives, including peers, educators, and parents. As a result of weight bias and discrimination, obese children suffer psychological, social, and health-related consequences. http://www.yaleruddcenter.org/resources/upload/docs/what/bias/StigmaObesityChildrensHealth.pdf

Rebecca Puhl of the Rudd Center further brings to light the stigmatization of large children in the following article.

The NAAFA Child Advocacy Toolkit shows how Health At Every Size® takes the focus off weight and directs it to healthful eating and enjoyable movement. It addresses the bullying, building positive self-image and eliminating stigmatization of large children. The CATK lists resources available to parents, educators or caregivers for educational materials, curriculum and programming that is beneficial for all children. It can be found at:

Jan. 03 2012 11:29 PM
Anna from London UK

The Anti Obesity drug makers and diabetes drug makers take in 10 billion$$$$ every year with no cure!!

Food Chemicals are the cause of the diabetes and obesity crisis

The FDA and Drug makers know this and are laughing to the Billionaire$$$ bank

The food chemicals break the gut(insulin) and this is the cause of the diabetes and obesity crisis

A filmmaker has been reversing diabetes and Obesity in now 10 countries and the drug makers do not promote the story


Jan. 03 2012 06:27 PM
Margaret from UWS Manhattan

I'm hoping to contribute to the experiment in urban farming, with locations that cater to various neighborhood needs, and would like to supply a local school with fruits and/or vegetables, besides having sections dedicated to school science lab. There should be gardening club at school.

Jan. 03 2012 05:59 PM
Helen Cartwood

Here is the daily menu for my child's school:
Monday: Bagel Day
Tuesday: Pizza Day
Wednesday: Pasta Day
Thursday: Breaded chicken fingers and French fries
Diabetes anyone?

Jan. 03 2012 09:05 AM
Peg from Southern Tier NY

Where do all these kids get the money to buy the junk foods? And WHY can't all children (and adults) connect the junk foods with the junk bodies?

Jan. 03 2012 08:10 AM
gaye wiesner from staten Island, NY.

It's not just school food at lunch that can have an influence. In the shool where I teach, on Staten Ilsnd, breakfast is also served as well as an after school "snack" during the afterschool programs. three opportunities to influence what we eat.

Jan. 03 2012 06:58 AM

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