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Cameras to measure what students eat

Associated Press / May 12, 2011

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SAN ANTONIO — Smile, Texas schoolchildren. You’re on calorie camera.

That’s the idea behind a $2 million project unveiled yesterday in the lunchroom of a San Antonio elementary school, where high-tech cameras installed in the cafeteria will begin photographing what foods children pile onto their trays — and later capture what they do not finish eating.

Digital imaging analysis of the snapshots will then calculate how many calories each student scarfed down. Local health officials said the program, funded by a US Department of Agriculture grant, is the first of its kind in a US school and will be so precise that the technology can identify a half-eaten pear left on a lunch tray.

“This is very sophisticated,’’ said Dr. Roberto Trevino, director of the San Antonio-based Social & Health Research Center, which will oversee the program.

Parents will be required to give consent for their children to participate, and they will receive regular reports showing what foods their children are filling up on at lunch.

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