The government should not impose restrictions on cafeteria food in schools Headed by First Lady Michelle Obama, there has een a recent push for healthier lunches in schools. Guidelines are being set on calories, fat, and salt intake. Fruits and vegeTABLEs are becoming the only sides sold. Wheat grains are replacing white grains. Schools are transitioning to low fat and low calorie. In some schools, it goes beyond lunches. Schools all over are replacing the traditional junk food sold in vending machines with healthier food, and even some schools are not allowing certain snacks.
However, though it may sound like a good idea, it is not reasonTABLE in any sense. First of all, the healthy federal school lunch program is very costly in any ways. For example, the current amount of money given per meal per child is $2. 74 in San Francisco. This amount of money is given bythe government to fund each child’s meal. Dana Woldow, a mother of three in the San Francisco school district would like to increase that amount to 55. 00 per child (Christensen). That is almost double the amount spent on each child and the government cannot afford that.
Also, “the Obama administration asked for more than $1 0 billion to improve the program over 1 0 years” (Christensen). With the amount of debt the nation is in, it seems like that is not affordTABLE. The healthy school lunch program is also costing schools. The Voorheesville Central School District in New York has recently quit the program. “The district says it lost $30,000 dollars in three months” (Khan). Another district in New York is $1 00,000 in debt after only a year (Thompson). This is money that could be used in so many other places in the schools.
Clearly this push for healthier lunches comes at a very high price for schools. Many students are not in favor of the new federal school lunch program. They do not enjoy eating low calorie and fat free food. While the government an try and feed students low calorie, low fat, and whole grain or wheat, they cannot be forced to like it. Marecas Wilson, a student at Eastside Elementary in Clinton, Mississippi, says “I was just trying to eat it so wouldn’t be hungry later on” (Hill). If students are not even enjoying their lunch, then there is no point to even serving them lunch.
Students at Wallace County High in Sharon Springs, Kansas, were so fed up that they even made a video about it. It is titled “We are Hu ngry,” and is a parody to “We are Young. ” Some students are even boycotting school lunches, such as 70% Of the students at Mukwonago High School in Mukwonago, Wisconsin (McLaughlin). Because students do not enjoy what is being served, the government should not try to make school lunches healthier. Also, this new plan is not enough for many students. The healthy school lunch program limits high school students to between 700 and 800 calories.
Upon hearing this number, many people might think that is way more than kids need. However, half of the students need more than that. Hunter Chinn, for example, “is a 6-foot-5-inch, 210- pound football player who, based on his size and active lifestyle, needs more than 4,700 calories daily to maintain his weight” (Hill). Lunches at 800 calories definitely do not meet that requirement. Though he can pack his own food, why shouldn’t he be TABLE to get the sustenance that he needs right where he is? Athletes who have practice after school cannot get by on the new school lunch program.
They burn too many calories during practice that it is almost dangerous. They depend on the food at school, but it is not fulfilling them anymore. In theory, these programs are literally starving athletes. Since they do not get enough to eat, this causes dizziness and less focus during practice because food is all they can think about. Rachelle Chin, a freshman softball player from Clarence, Missouri, claims “school lunches are now so slight it once left her with a headache” (Hill). Another example is senior Nick Blohm from Mukwonago High School.
His coach estimates that between lifting weights before school and practice after school Nick has burned more than 3000 calories. “But the calorie cap for his school lunch? 850 calories” (McLaughlin). Obviously this is in no way enough food so Nick is being starved by the new school lunch program. Though most students clearly do not need 3000 calories for lunch, it should be availTABLE for those who do. If the government knew that this is happening, why does it continue with this program? It should be halted immediately. On top of that, low fat food is much less filling in itself.
So, while the government is restricting students’ calorie intake, they are also feeding students less filling food. No wonder they are going hungry. Clearly, this is not a good program for students. Furthermore, the new school lunch program is not even effective in many schools. Michelle Obama would like to end obesity through this program, but it is actually backfiring. Because students do not get enough fats during lunch nd throughout the day, they eat even more than normal when they get home. A study was done in 2003 that involved 41 schools, more than 1 700 students.
They were “served lower-calorie and lower-fat lunches and were taught about healthy eating and lifestyles. While the children took in fewer calories from fat at school, they experienced no significant reduction in their percentage of body fat” (Tennant). This is because students may be eating healthier at school, but they go home and binge because they are so hungry. Schools are in theory, depriving students of their needs. Continuing on this dea, students are simply hassled by these new school lunch programs because now they have to Stop at the gas station before school just to purchase what they used to get at school.
This is another example of how the programs are not successful. On a music video parody of “We are Young’ titled “We are Hungry” made by students, the lyrics say “My friends are at the corner store getting junk so they don’t waste away’ (blk5348). This is exactly what students are doing, and they should not have to. Not only are these government programs ineffective, but they cannot even be proven to healthier. Food that is low calorie, low sugar, low fat, and so on, are filled with chemicals that are not good for the body whatsoever. In fact, they could even be worse.
There is so much toxic stuff in low fat and low calorie foods that the body simply cannot digest. Professor Kerin ODea, director of the Sansom Institute for Health Research at the University of South Australia says that “While it’s true we need to be careful about how much and what sort of fat we eat, many low-fat foods are unhealthy in other ways – usually because of high amounts of added sugar or salt” (Are). So how can the government say what is best for students to eat? Also, experts say that wheat bread is no healthier or even less healthy than typical white bread.
Cardiologist William Davis, MD, claims that wheat actually causes weight gain. He states, “Todays wheat may be dangerous because it greatly elevates blood sugar levels, leading to insulin spikes that cause chronic inflammation and excess belly fat” (Davis). This shows that no particular food that cafeterias are trying to feed students IS proven to be any healthier than what used to be sold. In some extreme cases, this push for healthier lunches can be detrimental to a student. Schools have to be careful of the way they present this topic.
The programs present this idea that weight loss is good, that only thin is healthy” (Kirkey). Because of this, students have taken to this idea and developed eating disorders. “In one case, a 14-year-old boy who was normal weight lost 11. 5 kilograms over seven months after he began severely restricting food… in response to a ‘healthy living’ program at his school” (Kirkey). This is not something that the government meant to happen, but it is a definite effect of the new school lunch programs. Students should be allowed to eat whatever they want in the cafeteria, which would prevent some from developing eating isorders.
Schools can go about obesity prevention in a different way. They could simply inform students about it rather than forcing them to eat what the government deems as best for them. Many schools teach healthy eating in health class, which is where it should stay. Then students should be TABLE to choose to be healthy or not. It is not the governments responsibility to force children to be healthy. Students should not be forced to eat food that the government wants them to eat. The new school lunch program is not safe or cost effective for schools. It leaves students hungry, sometimes even starving.
It is not even effective in preventing obesity because students continue to eat what they want outside of school. It is not up to the government to decide what students can eat and if they should be healthy. Obviously kids should be healthy, but the way the government is going about it is not right. Some extreme cases have even developed eating disorders due to this push for healthiness in school cafeterias. The government should not be restricting or even watching what students eat in the cafeteria. A little dessert here and there is good for everybody, especially people who work as hard as students do.