I AGREE that children shouldn’t be able to buy candy bars and sugary sodas at school (“Get junk food out of schools,’’ Editorial, Jan. 28). But as a dietitian working with school food service providers across the country, I know another major contributor to the childhood obesity epidemic is the main course.
Federal nutrition programs have the goal of improving school meals, but menus in many schools are still too high in saturated fat. That’s because the center of the plate is often high-fat meats and cheeses, purchased cheaply thanks to federal subsidies. We should encourage state and federal lawmakers to help schools offer healthier snacks, but we must also ensure that federal nutrition programs promote children’s health. Congress must revise the Child Nutrition Act to help schools serve more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat vegetarian meals. This is the best way to encourage healthy eating habits that will fight childhood obesity.
for Responsible Medicine