CHILDREN’S HEALTH: School Officials Discuss Lunch Options, Exercise
During the first day of a two-day "nutrition and health summit," 500 California school board members, legislators and nutritionists discussed options for dealing with the "growing number of kids [who] are eating high-fat, low-quality fast foods," the Sacramento Bee reports. The summit comes on the heels of a recent Berkeley-based Public Health Institute survey showing that one-third of California teenagers are overweight. Sponsored by the California Department of Education, the summit at CalExpo focused on the rising sales of junk food on school campuses, as well as the "dramatic increase" in the number of "exclusive contracts" the nation's school districts have made with food or beverage companies to sell only that company's products. Renee Dwyer, a nutrition teacher with the University of California's Cooperative Extension in Calaveras County, said, "We're trying to teach [children] to make good choices, yet the food choices we offer are lacking." Nutritionists advised school administrators to develop "nutrition education programs," so children would make "good food choices throughout their lives." But to keep their food programs "solvent," many school districts said they must sell foods other than those offered under the USDA's "traditional school lunch program." Administrators plan to lobby lawmakers to increase federal subsidies for programs such as the federal free or reduced-price lunch program, which allows students to eat basic nutritional foods during the day. The conference also offered school administrators tips on how to encourage students' healthy eating and exercise habits through school gardening and cooking programs or increased access to playground equipment. The summit concludes today (Martineau, Sacramento Bee, 9/28).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.