National School Lunch Week with Healthy Food! A MomsRising Blog Carnival #HealthyEduPosted October 11th, 2013 by Migdalia Rivera
Welcome to the MomsRising blog carnival for National School Lunch Week with Healthy Food! We’re delighted that you’re here and we have many thoughtful, informative posts for you from a diverse group authors as you scroll down this page. Today starts National School Lunch Week and this is a critically important issue for our nation, and for my family. At the age of 15, my son was diagnosed with high blood pressure and high cholesterol. His diagnosis not only affected his life, it affected our family’s life. The lifestyle changes I made, the way I cooked, limiting sweets and incorporating exercise, were a start, but they were not enough. He spent more than half of his day at school – almost 10 hours! Running between classes and clubs, he did not have enough time to run outside to grab a healthy meal or snack. He was faced with going hungry or eating food that had no nutritional value, the same type of food that played a role in his diagnosis. It was not a choice he should have had to make.
Over the last 4 decades, childhood obesity among school age children, ages 6 to 19, has tripled. With more than 31 million children participating in the National School Lunch Program, and consuming almost half of their daily calories at school, providing healthy meals within schools can help stem the tide of childhood obesity in the United States.
To help prevent obesity, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), recently updated nutrition standards for school meals. Although some states have implemented healthier meal standards on their own, the changes from USDA are the first update to national nutrition standards for school meals in 15 years. School meals are now required to have more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, while limiting the amount of sodium, fat, and calories.
The good news is, schools are implementing these standards. Ninety-four percent of U.S. school districts expected to meet the updated standards by the end of the 2012-13 school year, according to a national survey commissioned by the Kids’ Safe and Healthful Foods Project. USDA itself has said that 80 percent of schools already have met the standards. This is very encouraging!
Today, parents, educators and advocates speak out about the changes.
*Please read through the below (scroll down) and comment on these thoughtful blogs, then take the time to tell us your story and why you support strong USDA nutrition standards for school meals.
Our stories are powerful and are what led administrators to set these rules in place.
Read them. Share them. Tell yours.
Melinda Gonzalez, Food Justice/Food Rights Activist, Organic Melinda