In our opinion: Change the menu
September 9, 2011 · 4:12 PM
With student obesity rates in Kitsap County Schools stuck for years in the middle to upper 20 percentile, officials can hoist all the gentle blame they like on parents’ parenting and students’ lack of physical lives beyond whatever exercise they’re exposed to at school. It won’t change a thing.
Nothing short of changing the daily menu served by districts for breakfast and lunch to students throughout the county.
It’s an expensive proposition to contribute the funds above the federal subsidies already promised to cover the free and reduced lunch program in an effort to switch from heavily processed fatty foods rich in sugars and carbs.
While an average middle class kid may return home after the long active day to grilled asparagus and salmon that balances out the the breakfast waffles and BBQ rib sandwich lunch, poor children are very likely to return to a home serving the same fat, carbs and sugars delivered in the french toast and Hot Pockets given to them them twice that day.
Not all obese children are poor, or on the free and reduced lunch program that serves as the basis for the overall lunch menu. However, poor children are twice as likely to be obese by current medical standards as their counterparts. Poor or not, those overweight children and teens face all the life-long ailments, poor health and medical costs that go with obesity started in their youth. Costs which in many cases are passed along to those who would pass over contributing to a better diet back in third grade.
If districts are to pursue the reduction of obesity issues facing their students, the one group they can actually effect rests in the lower socio-economic class.
Remove the carbs, sugars and fatty foods comprising the two meals a day offered for free to 60 percent of the total student body in Bremerton and 30 percent in the Central Kitsap School District. Instead, serve two meals a day based on the kind balanced diet preached about in nutrition circles and among academics.