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Conference on Educational Leadership

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May 2011 | Volume 68 | Number 8
Schools, Families, Communities Pages 75-78

Special Topic / Lunch Lessons

Ann Cooper

With obesity threatening our children, creating healthy school lunch programs is not optional—and not impossible.

Not a day goes by without the media addressing America's obesity crisis, and lately the discussion has settled on our children. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has concluded that if U.S. children don't get their weight in check, their anticipated health problems will significantly shorten their lives and make them the first generation in U.S. history to die at younger ages than their parents. It's predicted that one of every two black and Latino children born in 2000 in the United States—and one of every three white children—will contract diabetes in their lifetimes, most before they graduate high school (CDC, 2011). By 2018, this may mean that 30–35 percent of all school-age children are insulin dependent. The health ramifications are overwhelming. Yet most of these problems could be prevented—if we improve our children's nutrition.

The state of our nation's food supply is unconscionable. Agribusinesses control 90 percent of that supply (National Family Farm Coalition, n.d.), and too much of that supply is highly processed and unhealthy. As a chef, an advocate for children's health and lifelong wellness, and currently director of nutrition in a midsize school district, I hope to inspire parents, school administrators, and advocates to act for change—before it's too late.

Why Start with Children?


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