School Lunch and Childhood Obesity
The effects of school lunch on children's health
The Hard Truth
A child who consumes too much fat, sugar, sodium, or processed food and too few vitamins and minerals, due to the lack of unhealthy lunch choices, develop a higher risk over time for many chronic health problems including diabetes, kidney stones, bone loss, cancer and heart disease. Additionally, kids who eat unhealthy lunches are more likely to score lower on tests and have a harder time with schoolwork, due to the lack of sustainable energy from their food. Obesity may lower a child's self-esteem, causing them to withdraw from social activities such as sports.
Reducing the Risk
Parents can help reduce the risk of their child developing obesity/poor nutrition related diseases by:
- Packing their child's lunch with healthy options (lean turkey, carrots, low fat string cheese, bottled water).
- Teach their child how to eat healthy at home, making them smarter in the lunchroom.
- Sending their child to school with snacks such as almonds, sliced fruit or vegetables so they will be less likely to purchase unhealthy snacks.
- Signing up for a pre-paid lunch program that shares purchase history with parents, to help them stay on top of what their child is eating in the cafeteria.
- Encouraging physical activity and getting their child involved in after school activities such as soccer or an intermural team.
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