No sugar in the coffee shop, no Otis Spunkmeyer cookies in the lunch room and healthy vending machines are placed around the halls. These changes and others around East are part of new health initiatives from the federal government. They try to improve school food programs and encourages healthy life choices. Current programs, however, do little to to teach students how to make the right nutrition choices for themselves.
According to the CDC, 35.1 percent of adults and 18 percent of children ages six to 19 suffering from obesity in the United States. From young children to adults, it is clear that there is a problem with the types of food eaten, oversized servings and inadequate knowledge in regard to proper nutrition and exercise.
The government, specifically the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and programs created by first lady Michelle Obama aim to create healthier generations. These programs attempt to combat childhood obesity through the education, accessibility and promotion of a healthy lifestyle.
The Let’s Move program is designed to be especially influential for younger children who are beginning to develop their eating and physical activity habits. The Healthy Hunger Free-Kids Act of 2010, which includes the Smart Snacks in School, is part of the USDA’s attempt to provide access to healthy food to all children in public schools by making nutritious food more readily available.
The new standards impact the lives students, for kindergarteners to seniors. Despite the significant age and developmental difference between grade levels.The more independent older students are not as impacted by changes in the lunchroom as students still in elementary school.
Even with the limitation of foods and serving sizes at schools, Healthy Hunger Free Kids, Smart Snacks in School and Let’s Move are not actually educating students on what choices to make. The unhealthy choices aren’t accessible in school but this doesn’t prevent a student from having them at home.
Simply limiting or removing certain types of foods is not a conducive way to teach young adults how to make healthy choices, because it is forced and students are not given understanding of what the healthy choices should be due to a lack of explanation why these types of programs are important in schools.
Currently at East, for these programs to reach their goal they must address the issue of obesity in relation to the average high school student. Educational sessions and information on healthy choices and how to make them available to students rather than simply removing unhealthy foods from the school. So students have an understanding of nutrition that is practical outside of a controlled environment.
The government should provide the healthiest food options in schools and education students about how to live a healthy lifestyle. The existing programs implementation does little to actually teach students how and why they must make health conscience choices.