The Public Needs to Know

Running Header: The Public The Public Needs To Know Tristanjay V. Llantada Dr. Yatia Yasmeen ENG115 NOV 19, 2012 The Public Needs to Know All across America, our youth faces an obesity crisis. But how exactly do we stop this obesity epidemic? It is a fact to anyone that children today are consuming so many snacks and beverages and eating too little nutritious foods. “Currently only 1%-2% of US children meet the recommended Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the national nutrition standards for dietary intake necessary for optimal health” (Crawford, 2011).

Children’s intake in nutritional foods doesn’t even come close to the current recommendations. An important way we can provide for our children is give them access to healthier foods. “The proposed Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 will do that by making significant improvement to our federally funded school meat program” (Crawford, 2011). This act will have changes to the National School Lunch Program and the National School Breakfast program in which school meals will have the dietary recommendation that is stated in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

If these standards are proposed, school meals will have more servings of nutritional foods. Examples would be fruit, vegetables, whole grain and nonfat milk. Foods that have more fat, sugar and sodium will have a decrease in servings. Current and Proposed School Meal Requirements: Breakfast | | Current Requirement| Proposed Requirement| Fruit| 1/2 cup per day| 1 cup per day| Grains and Meat/Meat Alternate| 2 grains or 2 meat/meat alternates or 1 of each per day| 1. 4-2 grains per day plus: 1-2 meat/meat alternates per day (Range reflects difference by grade group)|

Whole Grains| Encouraged| At least half of the grains to be rich in whole grain| Milk| 1 cup| 1 cup, fat content of milk to be 1% or less| Current and Proposed School Meal Requirements: Lunch | | Current Requirement| Proposed Requirement| Fruits and Vegetables| 1/2-1 cup of fruit and vegetables combined per day| 3/4-1 cup of vegetables plus 1/2-1 cup of fruit per day| Vegetables| No specification as to type of vegetables| Weekly requirement for dark green and orange vegetables and legumes and limits on starchy vegetables| Meat/Meat Alternate| 1. 5-3 oz equivalents (daily average over 5-day week)| 1. -2. 4 oz equivalents (daily average over 5-day week)| Grains| 1. 8-3 oz equivalents (daily average over 5-day week)| 1. 8-2. 6 oz equivalents (daily average over 5-day week)| Whole Grains| Encouraged| At least half of the grains to be rich in whole grain| Milk| 1 cup| 1 cup, fat content of milk to be 1% or less| From Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service. Federal Register. Nutrition Standards in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs. 2011 Jan 13; 76(9):2499. You might say, “Why are schools taking action, but it’s up to the parents to decide what their children eat? Yes, parents are responsible for their children but schools also take care of children the most part of their lives. “Children receive up to half of their calories at school in the form of school lunches, breakfasts, and snacks” (Crawford, 2011). To help with the cause, Virginia farms have combined into this program. “The Virginia Farm to School program is an effort to increase the amount of fresh and nutritious Virginia Grown products offered in schools and to promote opportunities for schools and local farms to work together” (Virginia Department of Agricultural and Consumer Services, 2012).

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Integrating locally grown products into school meals will also support local economies, minimize transportation costs and help preserve farm and farm land. This program is a great way to teach our children on how to eat healthy throughout their school life and beyond. The recommended changes in the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act will improve the “nutritional content of more than 41 million meals served per day to our nation’s children” (Crawford, 2011). We as adults are our children’s protectors, and must support these new meal standards that will provide healthier food choices for our children.

By taking in these standards, we will prevent obesity and reduce future health cost. I would say it is the right thing to do for our children. Reference Crawford, P. , (2011). New Standards for the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs: It’s the Right Thing to Do, Retrieved from http://www. medscape. org/viewarticle/740432 Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, (2012) Marketing and Development Retrieved from http://www. vdacs. virginia. gov/marketing/farm-news. shtml

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