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Archive for the ‘health’ Category

Telling excerpts from School Lunch Politics: The Surprising History of America’s Favorite Welfare Program, by Susan Levine.

Pages 182–183:

“Poor children formed the major target for food industry advertisements and new school lunch products. But paying children were still critical to school lunch budgets. To maintain a solid cadre of paying students, school cafeterias offered what they assumed the market desired. Lunchroom operators basically capitulated to the appeal and the lure of the consumer market in order to keep students—whether paying or free—in the lunchroom. In the mid-1990s, for the first time, federal rules allowed nine fast food chains to operate in schools…. Schools also began to offer ‘brand days’ in which the fast-food chains competed with one another for children’s lunch money. Brand-name products and fast foods promised to keep school lunchrooms financially solvent. Indeed, by the year 2000, the Centers for Disease Control estimated that one in five schools participating in the National School Lunch program had brand-name fast foods in their lunchrooms…. Food-service industry advertisers viewed school lunchrooms as the perfect place to create and solidify brand loyalty.”

“Neither the schools nor the Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service could compete with the marketing appeal of the private industry—or with the new products offered on trial in school lunchrooms. When it came to brand names, product advertising, and education materials, school lunch professionals were complicit partners. The American School Food Service Association regularly consulted with food-service companies and advised them on how to bring their products into compliance with USDA nutrition guidelines.”

Page 184:
“In 2004, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine warned of an impending obesity crisis among American children. School meals, the physicians feared, contributed to children’s ‘over consumption of calories, fat, cholesterol, salt, and sugar.’ Finding child obesity to be at ‘an all-time high,’ the committee ominously predicted that this generation ‘may be the first to have shorter lives than their parents.'”

Page 191:
“In crafting a national School Lunch Program, legislators convinced themselves that they could subsidize agricultural markets and at the same time ensure the nutritional well-being of the nation’s children…. While policy makers and legislators alike boasted that the National School Lunch Program was intended to protect the nutritional health of all children, no one was willing to appropriate the funds it would take to actually carry out that goal. The competing agendas that have shaped school lunchrooms over the past half-century reflect larger fissures and tensions within American public policy.”

Emphasis added.

Food is pleasure, culture, and community. It is also fuel. Congress will reauthorize the Child Nutrition Act this fall. Let your legislators know that you want them to do what it takes to ensure schools can afford real food.

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Every 5 years Congress reauthorizes the National School Lunch Program. It’s a chance to shape the eating habits of students: what they eat and how much they eat. This year the National School Lunch Program is set to be renewed once again. And the battle— which is fought every 5 years— is coming to another juncture.

Go here to see some all-too-typical photos of what passes as school lunch. Well-rounded meals are not monochromatic.

Get involved. Start by attending the Slow Food OKC Eat-In on September 7th.

Don’t have kids? Think shoddy school lunches aren’t your problem? Give this a read.

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Slow Food Eat-In

Slow Food OKC joins Slow Food USA in a National Eat-In
September 7th
Supporting Improvements to School Lunch Program
time for lunch

On Labor Day, Sept. 7, 2009, people in almost 200 communities all over the country will sit down to share a meal with their neighbors, friends, and children.
Come and join Slow Food OKC and the Sustainable Living Organization of the First Unitarian Church for our community’s Eat-In.  Share a great meal, meet others who are concerned about children’s health and the school lunch program, and learn about how you can make a difference.
This National Eat-In will send a clear message to Congress: It’s time to provide America ‘s children with real food at school.

The Child Nutrition Act is a federal law that comes up for reauthorization in Congress every four to five years. It governs the National School Lunch Program, which sets the standard for the food that more than 30 million children eat every school day.

In the last few decades, as school budgets have been cut, our nation’s schools have struggled to serve children the real food they need. In many communities, including our own, school lunches are the main (if not the only) meals that many children eat each and every day.  In a time of soaring childhood obesity and diabetes rates, the funding for these school food programs gives schools no choice but to feed children in ways that neither promote their health nor teach them what good, “real” food is.
The deadline for reauthorizing the current Child Nutrition Act is November 2009. Unless we speak up, Congress may pass a Child Nutrition Act that continues to fail our children.  To learn more about Slow Food USA’s Time for Lunch Campaign follow this link.
We have lined up great speakers who are actively engaged in feeding our children and understand the issues facing school lunch programs.  They will provide short presentations and answer your questions.
Who should attend: parents, educators, legislators, health and nutrition providers, concerned citizens in our community.  Children over 3 are welcome (we are arranging babysitters).
Price: Meal $10 for adults; $5 for children 5 and over.  Kamala Gamble -Slow Food founder and chef will cater a delicious meal for us!  If this meal cost would be a hardship for you – please let us know and we can make accomodations – we want you to come (or you may bring your own sack meal).  We need a count so please reserve in advance – please let your friends know too.  This is an important issue come and share in our Eat-In!
Reservations: We ask that you reserve in advance so that we know how many attendees.  If you will want/need babysitting – we need to know the # and age of your children.  Send your reservation request to slowfoodokc@yahoo.com.

Where & When
Monday, September 7 (Labor Day)
4-6 p.m.
First Unitarian Church 600 NW 13th Street map

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