According to kidsdata.org, in 2010 41.9% of fifth grade children were obese. Also in 2010, 37.9% of children in the seventh grade were obese. The same website says that 17% of children ages 2-19 are obese. This rate has nearly tripled over the past three decades. This is bad because obese children are at risk for a range of social and physical health problems.
I recently attended a briefing called “Nutrition in Schools” at the Serna Center in Sacramento which discussed placing healthier food in school cafeterias. Four people spoke at the briefing talking about how they are pretty much reinventing the school cafeteria’s menu. The first person to speak was Sandip Kaur, Division Director of the Nutrition Services Division from the California Department of Education. The second person to speak was Brenda Padilla, Manager of the Nutrition Services Department for the Sacramento Unified School District. The third person to speak was David Edgar, Nutrition Manager and Chef for the Sacramento City Unified School District. And last but not least, Gabriel Ramirez, Neighborhood News Contributor for Accesslocal.tv.
Each speaker talked about what they are changing in the school cafeteria, and why they are changing it. They said kids who eat healthy learn better and also behave better when they have a healthy breakfast. They passed out a memo that says how much food the kids in our schools are going to get. They must now choose at least one fruit or one vegetable among the three meal components they need to take for a complete lunch. They encourage kids to get more servings of the fruit and vegetables if they would like to. Whole grains are up, 50% of all grain foods they serve will be whole grain rich, and in two years, all of the grains they serve will be whole grain rich. They cut bad fats for the kids too, meals will average less than 10% calories from saturated fat, and every item will contain zero grams per serving of trans fat. The milk they will be serving is fat-free unflavored, 1% unflavored, and fat-free flavored milks. For more details about this you can go to www.traytalk.org. Or you can call the Manager Brenda Padilla from nutrition services at 916-277-6715.
I think it is really cool that schools are starting to do this. Back when I was in school, I don’t remember caring about what I ate and I also don’t remember eating anything healthy and delicious. This is a great change that we needed in our community.