We hear it all the time that our kids are so obese but Time magazine had two new numbers Wednesday that I had never seen before.
Buried under a story about getting kids to eat fish (which we will discuss later) were these crazy stats on childhood obesity.
FACT No. 1: “According to new USDA data, students who eat a federally funded school lunch are likelier to be overweight than those who don’t. But surprisingly, those who also get a federally funded school breakfast are at lower risk. The numbers were drawn from a survey of 13,500 kids, and while USDA officials are sure of the findings, they’re not yet”
One likely source of trouble is surely that a portion of the federally funded lunch menu comes from government surplus, which means that some meals may be based as much on what’s available as what’s nutritious. That’s not to say that plenty of federal lunches do not meet good fat, calorie and nutrition guidelines. But in those cases, the very wholesomeness of the meals may be turning kids off, pushing them to buy a la carte items (also known as junk food) that cafeterias sell as a badly needed source of income.”
“School breakfasts, by contrast, may not qualify as spa food, but they do include whole grains, fruits, fruit juices, cereal and yogurt, and they’re served at a time of day when the French fryer and the pizza oven are not yet fired up and cranking out unhealthy alternatives. A child who eats well in the morning may be less likely to gorge at noon, providing a better nutritional balance overall.”
So maybe they should serve breakfast at lunch time. Last year, the kids’ school did breakfast for lunch several times a month. Maybe it’s easier to make nutritious and the kids accept that kind of food?
What are you packing in their lunches that is better for them than what the schools are serving?? (Seriously I need some ideas. Rose isn’t buying lunch for the first time and I am struggling to send her anything interesting. Meanwhile Walsh must be having a growth spurt because he is buying and a lunch every day and I am sending him a lunch as well and he is eating both! The kid is hungry!)
Fact No. 2 — So what was the obesity rate when we were kids in the 1970s? I’ve never seen this number before!! Five percent was the rate in the 1970s for kids compared to 19 percent now, according to Time magazine. (Adults are at 27 percent now.)
Wow, that’s a huge increase. So what has changed between the 1970s to now?
Less freedom to wander and play outside?
Increase in soda and fast food consumption?
The invention of home video games?
What else has changed that would contribute to this??
So what do you make of these numbers? Why lunches so much worse for the kids than breakfast food? What are you serving for lunches that is healthier? How can we recreate the 1970s obesity rates?