More and more children are gaining excess weight. According to a recent report in the International Journal of Pediatric Obesity, nearly half the children in North America will be overweight or obese by 2010. Along with those extra pounds come an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, and some forms of cancer later in life. According to a report in The New England Journal of Medicine, today’s youth may be the first generation to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents.
Healthful diets rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and other vegetarian foods help children stay healthy and trim. Unfortunately, many kids don’t always have the chance to eat healthful meals—at least not during the school day. The meaty, cheesy fare many schools serve is fanning the flames of the obesity epidemic.
That’s why PCRM is working to improve school lunches. PCRM tracks school policies across the country and makes suggestions for improvements, rewards innovative food service professionals, provides nutrition resources for parents and schools, and promotes changes to federal nutrition policy to make healthful food more accessible.
Resources for Schools and Parents
School lunch offerings have slowly improved over the last several years, but most schools have a long way to go. PCRM offers resources for parents and schools at www.HealthySchoolLunches.org, including helpful links, book titles, and downloadable booklets and fact sheets. And more nutrition tips and healthful recipes for students, parents, and the whole family are available at www.NutritionMD.org.