The Astonishing Impact School Lunches Have on Childhood Obesity Rates

Issues surrounding the nutritional value in school lunches is a significant issue impacting childhood obesity rates in the United States. states that kids who buy lunch at school had a 30% greater risk of obesity than those who brown bag theirs.

The stats revealed were a part of a University of Michigan study of over 1000 sixth graders, and results were published in the American Heart Journal.

The study found that in addition to the nutritional quality of the food as a factor in the statistics, was a lack of activity for those children.

Two or more hours of sedentary activity in front of a TV or video games increased the risk of obesity by 19%.

These two factors can lead to an unbalanced, dysfunctional metabolic profile (see my blog on Metabolic Syndrome from Feb. 28, 2013).

The solution involves

  • creating opportunities for activity for the young people
  • reducing their screen time
  • improving the nutritional profile of their lunches

Previously, the theory on childhood obesity centered around behavioral factors and hereditary or genetics factors.

According to the study, obese children had three common markers.  They were:

1.       Less likely to have consumed milk with in the previous 24 hours to being involved in the study 983% VS, 90%)

2.       More likely to consume school lunches on most school days (45% vs. 34% that home-pack)

3.       More likely to consume regular soda’s and soft drinks daily (40% vs. 30% who don’t consume daily)

4.       Had significantly less exercise.  Less than 20 minutes a day in the week before the study and less likely to participate in school or after-school organized sports.

Making positive changes to the growing problem of childhood obesity impacts everyone in the US, even if they don’t have children themselves.  If the upcoming generation is plagued with health issues due to an increase in metabolic profile issues, it burdens the healthcare system, doesn’t allow for the children to reach their potential in education, and creates mental health issues for them as a group. Let’s all get involved in some way to create positive change.

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