Dishing out health problems

  The people who are feeding our government school children are dishing out a great disservice.
   The Observer on Sunday attended school lunch times to observe what the kiddies were noshing on at lunch time.
   In one instance it was fried chicken nuggets with French fries. While fries are made from potatoes, we can’t let anyone argue that they are a vegetable. And neither is the ketchup children dip their fries in, despite Ronald Regan’s efforts in the United States in the early 1980s to have ketchup and pickle relish classified as vegetables in a move to allow public schools to cut out a serving of cooked or fresh vegetables from hot lunches.
   In another instance students were served greasy, gooey boxed cheese pizzas. The salad that should have accompanied the junk food was missing.
   The people who make and deliver the lunches say the students won’t eat healthy food. The school administrators say the parents complain loudly when the students are made to eat healthy meals.
   We see a couple of problems here – mainly when did the children start making the rules?
   And we’re not biting on the argument that kids won’t eat food that’s better for them if given the opportunity.
   A University of Minnesota study found that school lunch sales did not drop and even increased in some cases when healthier meals were served. More nutritious meals were not necessarily more expensive to prepare, either.
   The study examined five years of lunch data for 330 Minnesota public school districts. It found cases like the St. Paul Public Schools, which serves more than 46,000 daily meals. The percentage of kids eating school lunches went up when the district began offering more fruits and vegetables.
    The Education Department already uses a nutritionist to analyse the menus, but they need to go a step further and create a food policy that ensures nutritionally balanced menus are devised for all school meals   and enforce  they are served.
   We are creating a generation of people who will grow up with unhealthy eating habits, who are being groomed to seek out junk food. The children in our public schools who eat unhealthy meals are being set up for increased rates of obesity, diabetes and heart problems. And we as parents, educators and lawmakers can do something about it now.