Discussion

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Week 4 Discussion What Do We Know?

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Growing up, my mom usually packed my lunch for school. I was totally happy eating the same thing day after day- typically a sandwich of some kind on whole wheat bread. Most kids in my grade school packed their lunches, but in high school things changed a little. I would pack my lunch, but then I’d also see what was being served in the lunch line. I’d usually buy some french fries and/or a soda (which I still love but now it is diet soda), to “round out” my healthy meal. There were lots of high calorie, high fat foods to choose from.

I had friends (in grade school and high school) who bought their lunches daily. Sometimes there would be salad on their plates, but more often it was things like pizza and tator tots. That’s why I wasn’t surprised to read about a new study which found that kids who regularly purchased school lunches were more likely to be obese than those who brought their lunches.

In this study of sixth graders, published in the American Heart Journal, it found that students were 29% more likely to be obese if they ate school lunches. “Of the 142 obese children in the study for whom dietary information was known, almost half were school-lunch regulars, compared with only one-third of the 787 who were not obese.” More than two hours per day in front of the T.V. also increases the risk of childhood obesity but surprisingly, not by as much- only 19%.

Although many schools have relied on high energy food with little nutritional value in the past because it’s cheaper, that could soon be changing. “Under a federal law passed last December, Department of Agriculture guidelines will limit the number of calories served at every school meal and require programs to offer a variety of fruits and vegetables.”

Are you surprised by these findings? What kind of experience have you had with school lunches? When you reply to others make sure to compare your experiences to their own and extend the discussion by explaining what impact these changes might bring.

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