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February 22, 2010


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One major thing that's changed since I was in school is that I had PE every day; my 4th grader has it twice a week. Many schools have also shortened recess to give them more time to prep for standardized tests. I think it's all connected.
But I agree with your overall point: it's not schools' job, but up to us as parents to ensure that our kids are eating right. (It just doesn't help when you're packing a healthy lunch and your child is coveting the school's offering of pizza!)


I'm sorry, I'm laughing. It's just another phase. They go through tons of them. Stuff they won't eat one week, they suddenly like - especially if its one of your favorites. It seems all my daughter would eat for a while there was raw broccoli, raw carrots, chicken breast, applesauce, bananas, kiwi, actaully, she was pretty good about fruit.

Anyway, now at 18, she makes good choices, and can cook a few things. Since we've eaten most of our veggies raw, there's no real skill involved.

On your point about these foods being available at school when we were young, they were, but they weren't filled with corn syrup and GMOs like they are now. The content of these foods is very different, and I think it does have something to do with the problems.

During most of her school years, my daughter chose to take her lunch. She didn't want to have to wait in line for food she didn't like. She said the school food was gross.

We used to have a lot of kids hanging around, and of course, they all said they didn't like vegetables. But if I put out a bowl of cherry tomatoes, or broccoli with some french dressing for dipping - it somehow disappeared. I didn't make a big deal about it, I just put it there, and they chose to eat it.

Battle of wills never works too well. You have to find ingenious ways around it.

And I think it goes without saying that it is our job as parents to teach our kids to eat right. Its just that so many parents are fat lazy slobs who don't care about eating right themselves, let alone teaching their kids. Learning at school is the only hope for those kids. I thinks its really sad.


Agreed - its all connected. I very much want improvements made to offer more healthful lunches at schools and hope the money can be found and dedicated to doing so! Sometimes I hear things like Change school lunches. Thats why we have an obesity issue, and I just think its *part* of the solution. Are those same kids mowing their lawns and raking the leaves, walking the dog, and vacuuming the floors at home to get daily physical activity like I did a generation ago? Or is that all outsourced these days? Physical activity is key part of combatting obesity (with healthy food choices), and its sad and maddening that its been cut from your childs school schedule when its been shown that exercise can clear the mind and actually help to improve academic scores. (Check out how Naperville (IL) schools increased their phys ed offerings and improved academic scores: http://www.learningreadinesspe.com/ .)



It's tough when you're adventurous eater turns picky. I'm there now too with my 5-year old. But we just keep putting out good nutritious food at dinner time and more or less, he finds something in there to eat. And since I still make his lunches and most of his snacks, he gets healthy foods then too.

Of course, fixing school lunches is only a small part of the problem. It's easy to think that it's not a big part of your kids overall diet, unless your family is one of the millions that gets free breakfast and lunch at school due to poverty. Then it's the bulk of your kids diet, and it really does matter that it be nutritious. Plus, all kids will likely learn and behave better if they're eating well (which would help all families at the school, teachers and society). And since we need to tackle the obesity epidemic somewhere, why not start at school? Why not have part of school be about educating our kids to choose from healthy food options, instead of unhealthy ones?
I went to a lecture about exercise and the brain and was blown away by what happened in Naperville, IL when they added all that exercise to schools. I wish we could replicate that across the country.


Improving the quality of school lunches is a good first step in this battle and a great way to not only reach the kids, but the parents as well! Im grateful for Secretary Vilsack making himself available to discuss reauthorizing the Childhood Nutrition Act, as it gives us [parents] an initiative to focus our efforts around to help improve the health of the next generation.


It seems like such a no-brainer for me. By eating better and being more active, we can improve the academic scores and work productivity of the next generation, reduce their stress and anxiety, and reduce the costs of healthcare over their lifetimes? Like we even need to debate funding this. . .


I just dont like parents throwing their hands up and *blaming* schools for the epidemic when other factors are clearly at play (politics, budgets, regional family lifestyle differences, etc.). When we lived in Chicago and moved out to the burbs, we specifically chose Naperville schools BECAUSE of the phys ed and academic programs (weve relocated since then) and I know Otsego schools in MI has adopted some of the same program as well. So it is spreading...s-l-o-w-l-y. Im mobilized to look into our current district to see whats in the works on the food and physical activity fronts. :-)


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