Leading Source

Let’s Move!, more than just a White House initiative

1-1256217176zbgkIt’s always quite hard to find someone who isn’t on a prescriptive diet, watching their weight, or at least trying to make healthy food choices. While much has been made of the fact that the nation as a whole is fatter than it’s ever been, the good news is that we know a lot more about the effect of certain foods on our bodies and can use that information to make healthier choices and (hopefully) lifelong habits for ourselves and our children.

The August issue of ASBJ focuses on childhood obesity and new research that shows the eating and exercise habits we learn in childhood influence the rest of our lives. The current generation of students is not only the heaviest, it’s the first whose life expectancy is expected to be shorter than their parents.

What’s the role of the school board? While some board members don’t feel it’s their job to police school cafeteria lines and meddle with what parents are feeding their children, there’s a role in teaching students healthy eating and exercise habits—part of the whole child movement–and it starts with healthier fare in the cafeteria. (Keep in mind, too, that these days more children are living in poverty and are relying on school meals as their main food source).

If you haven’t been paying attention to your cafeterias, you may be required to do so very soon. Legislation going through the House and Senate would increase the nutritional standards for all foods being served at schools and require more training for cafeteria employees, among many other things.

NSBA has concerns about new federal regulations and implementation of this legislation, particularly because it knows these initiatives work best when started at the ground level, and is working to kill some of the more problematic provisions.

Nevertheless, the measures appear to be in a good position to pass this year, given the interest in healthier fare and First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” anti-obesity initiative. As one NSBA expert puts it, “it’s feel good legislation.” And in an election year, “feel good” legislation moves a lot faster.

So look for the August issue of ASBJ for ideas and inspiration on how to make changes in your schools’ food services. Small changes may mean a lot more to your students.

Joetta Sack-Min, Associate Editor

Naomi Dillon|July 20th, 2010|Categories: American School Board Journal, Policy Formation, Wellness|Tags: , , |

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