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Fit to Be Taught, Vol.13

Starting Good Eating Habits in the Lunchroom


High-fat school lunches that mimic fast-food offerings contribute to obesity and other health problems in children, according to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. The U.S. government needs to make it easier and less expensive for schools to buy fruits and vegetables through the federal commodities program, so schools can offer students entrees that are more healthful.

A recent report, though, indicates that school lunches are getting more healthful.

As far as the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) was concerned, the typical school lunch was slowly and steadily feeding the growing problem of children with adult diseases such as obesity, type two diabetes, and high cholesterol. Since 1946, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has made commodities (surplus food) such as meat, cheese, and butter available to public schools at little or no cost. The trouble is, say PCRM staff members, the USDA should be supplying schools with more fruits and vegetables, not high-fat foods that make children's waistlines bulge.

PCRM dietician Jennifer L. Keller chatted with Education World four years ago about the group's campaign, its recommendations regarding changes to the school lunch law, and its commitment to more healthful school lunches.

Read the full article on Education World.

Wellness News
School Lunches Improving Less junk food is being sold in school cafeterias and at school fundraisers, but students still need more physical education, according to a federal study.

Ten Tips to Fight Classroom Germs Wiping down common areas with disinfectant and ensuring staff and children wash their hands often are too key ways to reduce the spread of germs in classrooms.

Starting the School Day With Vigor

A before-school fitness program at Bent Elementary School in Bloomington, Illinois, gives students an opportunity to exercise more and to learn more about how exercise can benefit them now and as they get older. Principal Eric Christian purchased two stationary bicycles and two recumbent bicycles as well as other equipment over the past few years using various grants totaling about $1,200. Students can use the equipment before school and sometimes during physical education classes. Staff members also can use the equipment, as can parents if they wish.

The program runs for two months; students come in two times a week for 45-minute periods. The kids exercise in the workout room once a week and then they can choose an activity for the second exercise period. Fourth graders come in the fall and fifth graders in the spring.

The program averages about eight students per semester. Exercise has provided a strong motivation for some kids to come to school early.

Read more about this program at: Before School Fitness Program.

Click to learn more about Action for Healthy Kids.

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