To borrow a line from Kermit the frog, it’s not easy being green — or, eating green.
America is the fattest country in the world, and only ranks second to Greece in the proportion of children who are overweight, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. While obesity rates have slowed or stabled in other countries, larger increases were recorded in the United States, alongside Canada and Ireland.
In America, 17 percent — or 12.5 million – of children aged 2-19 are obese, according to figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Another 16 percent or so are overweight and at risk of becoming obese.
Experts point to a culture of high fat and low quality, low nutrition eating – combined with minimal physical activity — as the main culprit. The OECD has called for a shift in habits and increased education in health and nutrition.
But is it where that education is supposed to be occurring — in schools — in part to blame? While schools can’t control what students eat off campus, they can affect what’s being served to children on school grounds, and educate students to prepare them for a lifetime of healthy habits, advocates have said….
It also doesn’t help when students across the country are waging war against the first lady. Teens from Kansas to Wisconsin have staged protests against the new school lunches, launching Twitter campaigns,boycotting cafeteria meals and filming videos in hopes of bringing widespread attention to their cause: the new rules are too restrictive, leaving kids hungry. Growing adolescents, teens say, require more calories because they’re burning more through sports and other activities.
A recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that more than a third of high school students were eating vegetables less than once a day –“considerably below” recommended levels of intake for a healthy lifestyle that supports weight management and could reduce risks for chronic diseases and some cancers.
Students are simultaneously throwing away twice as much food from school meals as they did last year, according to ABC News, and Kristi King, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, tells the network that the whole grain and fiber-robust new lunches should actually keep students fuller than before, “if they are actually consuming the whole product.“