School Lunch: Why Change Needs to Happen

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Imagine going back to childhood and sitting in a school cafeteria during lunchtime. The room is filled with a thunderous roar as all the children laugh and discuss the plans of attack for the impending recess. Fluorescent lights cast a pale greenish glow amongst the young faces as they walk about the aisles looking for the perfect seat, while rows of tables are occupied with the eager students waiting to devour the food in front of them. Aromas of all the food waft through the air, invoking the hungry stomachs to growl with anticipation. Trays are filled with the typical lunch favorites including chicken nuggets, French fries, and a fruit cup with a good variety; however, the best are the small, pink cherries. The beverage of choice to wash down this delectable meal is milk, but of course it has to have chocolate in it. Nothing completes a school lunch without chocolate milk.

This is a typical portrayal of school lunches all across America. Sadly, it is for this reason that American children suffer from rising cases of obesity. Childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years. The prevalence of obesity among children aged 6 to 11 years increased from 6.5% in 1980 to 19.6% in 2008. (Healthy Youth!, 2010). These figures are more than alarming and need to call attention to the situation. Obesity amongst children is a huge problem that can be easily prevented by offering alternatives to current situations. One leading cause within this epidemic deals with schools and the nutrition they provide to students. A study of Michigan sixth graders published in December of 2010 found that regularly consuming school lunches was a greater risk factor for obesity than spending two or more hours a day watching television or playing ...

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