More School Lunch News

More School Lunch News

More news about school lunches:
High School kids in Chicago protest the junkiness of their school lunches to the school board.

When school officials defend serving a daily menu of nachos, pizza, burgers and fries, they often say they’re just giving students what they want.

But you wouldn’t know it by listening to an angry coalition of high school students who plan to speak out on Chicago Public Schools meals Wednesday at the monthly Chicago Board of Education meeting.

One of those students is Teresa Onstott, a sophomore at Social Justice High School who last week practiced a speech that details the “sickening pizza, chicken sandwiches and nachos” the district serves each day and urges the board not to renew the contract for the company providing the food.

Kids who bring a sack lunch, are less likely to be obese:

Compared with kids who brought lunch from home, those who ate school lunches:

  • Were more likely to be overweight or obese (38.2% vs. 24.7%)
  • Were more likely to eat two or more servings of fatty meats like fried chicken or hot dogs daily (6.2% vs. 1.6%)
  • Were more likely to have two or more sugary drinks a day (19% vs. 6.8%)
  • Were less likely to eat at least two servings of fruits a day (32.6% vs. 49.4%)
  • Were less likely to eat at least two servings of vegetables a day (39.9% vs. 50.3%)
  • Had higher levels of LDL “bad” cholesterol
  • The good news: The Senate Agriculture Committee voted yesterday to increase the 17 billion dollar budget of the school food program by 4.5 billion dollars over the next decade

    The measure, which now must go to a full Senate vote, would overhaul the $17 billion school lunch program. It would call for the USDA to set new nutrition standards for food served in the cafeteria and vending machines, improve training for cafeteria workers and accelerate recalls of contaminated foods. Some 23,000 children ate food at school that made them sick from 1998 to 2007, according to USA Today. The bill also aims to increase the number of students eligible for free or reduced-price meals.

    The bad news:They’re planning to pay for it by cutting farm conservation programs while leaving big commodity crop subsidies in place:

    “Pitting kids against clean water instead of looking for savings in the much, much larger crop insurance and farm subsidy accounts is just wrong,” said Craig Cox, an official with Environmental Working Group, an advocacy organization. “It’s more than wrong, because it also reduces the increase in child nutrition funding that could otherwise be achieved.”

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