Should Schools have better School Lunches?

Jonathan Stumpf, Staff Writer

Americans are infamously overweight, and the US is the most obese country in the world. Recent scientific studies indicate that a whopping 35.7% of adults were classified as obese. This is over one-third of the U.S population. This means since the U.S population is about 318.9 million, over 100 million adults in the U.S are severely overweight.  These statistics are embarrassing to the U.S, and many have seeked to improve them. So how will the U.S fix this obesity issue? An easy answer for this question is: with the children. The children are the future of the U.S., and could eventually help lower the obesity rate in the United States. The obesity rate for children is generally high,, and is about 17%. Something that could potentially reduce these numbers, would be to have better school lunches.

The calorie amount that children should consume a day differs depending on their age. Overall, one to eighteen year olds are supposed to consume about 1,800-2,200 calories a day. Considering an average American’s diet, this number is very low. Americans have easy access to “junk foods”, and other unhealthy foods. This makes it easy for children to pass this calorie count. Going over these calorie amounts every once in awhile, would not negatively impact you. But going very high over this calorie count day by day, could eventually cause obesity. A few problems that could result from obesity include diabetes, blood clots, heart failure, and many other diseases. These diseases can shorten lifespan, and  be fatal.

It has been reported that for students in kindergarten through fifth grade, the calories for school lunches should not exceed 650 calories, and for children in sixth through eighth grade, lunches are not supposed to go over 700 calories. High school lunches are expected to not exceed 750 calories. These calories amounts would be higher than McDonald’s Big Mac, which contains 563 calories. It would also make up over one-third of your daily calorie count. This high calorie lunch along with breakfast, dinner, and snacking throughout the day would likely result in going over the daily calorie count. Going slightly over the calorie count is not a big deal, as well as going very high over it every once in awhile. But, going drastically high over it daily can become a potentially fatal problem.

The U.S. is aware of the obesity problem in the country, and has taken action on it. One notable person that has advocated healthier eating is Michelle Obama. Michelle Obama has reduced the amount of snacks available for school lunch, and has attempted to make school lunches healthier. She also lowered the maximum calorie count for school lunches. Since over 7 billion school lunches are consumed each year, the U.S congress also made it so that there would be twice as many fruits and vegetables than before. These changes upset many students, who believed that they deserved to consume more calories, due to doing many activities and being physically active.. This is true for some students, but others are not active and do not need the calories.

An easy solution to having better school lunches would be to offer more healthy options. Most school lunches include pizza, chicken patties, cheeseburgers, and french fries. These could still be options, but schools could also offer yogurts, parfaits, more fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods that are beneficial to learning and education.