According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2015), Obesity in school-age children has increased over the past thirty years to the amount of doubling in some and even quadrupling in others. CDC statistics showed in 2012, at least one-third of the school children were large or obese. Childhood obesity continues to be a growing problem in the United States. School lunches play a significant role in the obesity issues facing children today. The school menus of today contain too many calories from simple carbohydrates and fat. Starchy vegetables instead of green leafy vegetables are served along with food containing sodium levels higher than needed for one’s daily intake. Childhood obesity can lead to health issues if action is not taken rapidly. This paper will provide a brief summary of the issues of childhood obesity and focus on the role the school lunch meals play on this growing crisis.
Obesity is defined by the CDC (2015) as an individual that has extra body fat in relationship to one’s height. An easier way to understand obesity is the individual is taking in more calories than is being used. The health effects of childhood obesity have both short-term or immediate and long-term health effects. Health issues obtained later in life are believed to be linked to childhood obesity. Obese children have a greater chance of growing up to become adults with health issues such as heart disease, hypertension, high cholesterol and strokes. Additionally, these individuals are predisposed to diabetes type 2 and many forms of cancer.
Prevention of obesity in children diabetes is the best solution to the problem. “The U.S. Surgeon General has identified the obesity epidemic as one of the greatest health problems facing the nation today” (National Association of State Boards of Education, 2004, para 2). In 2010, the “Let’s Move” campaign was implemented encouraging children to get up and move around, or exercise and school lunches were to become healthier. Michelle Obama was quoted in an article called, First Lady Michelle Obama: Quotes on Child Obesity and Health “… Over the past five years, we have truly changed the culture around healthy eating and living in this country” (Holecko, 2015, para 4).Childhood obesity remains an epidemic health issue; the school lunches remain an issue to be researched.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), (2015). Childhood obesity facts. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/HealthyYouth/obesity/facts.htm Holecko, C., (2015). First Lady Michelle Obama: Quotes on Child Obesity and Health . Retrieved from http://familyfitness.about.com/ od/childhoodobesity /a/michelle_obama_obesity.htm National Association of State Boards of Education, (2004). The role of schools in preventing childhood obesity. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/physicalactivity/ pdf/roleofschools_obesity.pdf