Is Child Obesity Due to School Lunches or Other Factors?

With child obesity becoming a [tag]health[/tag] issue of almost epidemic proportions in this country, it is wise for parents to examine whether child obesity is due to school lunches. There have been reports of school cafeterias that serve menus that are not as nutritional as they could or should be which has caused many parents and health care workers to sit up and take notice of what kids are eating at school. In some cases, the information was reassuring in showing that many school lunch programs are highly conscientious in preparing nutritious meals for their student body. However, there are also many instances where this is simply not the case, and child obesity due to school lunches is a very real phenomenon.

How do you know if Child [tag]Obesity[/tag] is Due to School Lunches?

Most schools will post menus on their websites, or send a monthly menu home with students. This allows children to have the opportunity to determine which days they will opt for a hot lunch, and which days they prefer to brown bag it. Many schools will include the nutritional content of their menus as well; so that you can have a good idea of how balanced the fare is that is being offered. If your school does not readily offer this information, you can determine for yourself if your school lunches are contributing to child obesity by requesting a copy of the nutritional content. If your school is meeting the standards for nutritious lunches, then you can encourage your child to eat all of the healthy choices that come on his plate each day.

Another factor that you want to consider when it comes to determining whether child obesity is due to school lunches is whether or not the school offers alternative food choices in addition to the normal lunches. These choices may include plenty of unhealthy alternatives that are high in fat and sodium and low in nutrition. This can include a snack bar that serves pizza, popcorn, soda and other options that are tasty but low on the nutrition scale. The problem with making these alternatives available is that most students will prefer a fare of these items, rather than the fruits and vegetables that grace the trays of the healthier meals. This is a particular problem in middle and high schools, where snack bars and even vending machines are plentiful for the students’ use.

If you are concerned that your child’s school lunches are causing child obesity, you can talk to your school board about reversing the trend to offer these types of menus. Sometimes, if enough parents complain about an issue like this, results can actually be quick and effective. If you can’t get your school board to change its mind about the lunch choices, you can encourage your child to take healthier lunches to school, and you can continue to rally parents to stand up to the governing body of the school to request healthier food choices for your children.

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