Schools, Parents, Lawmakers Take on Childhood Obesity

School lunch programs have been targeted, but lawmakers have been reluctant to enforce stricter nutrition standards, claiming they are too expensive, says News 14 Carolina. A recent Pediatrics study found although weight problems begin at home, they get worse at school. Louisiana State University is waging war on obesity on both fronts, Associated Press says. Here are details about childhood obesity and home-school health cooperatives for parents.

Poverty and obesity

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that one of seven kids from poor families are obese. Low-income parents often have to rely on cheap, non-nutritious foods. They have less access to fresh foods. Low-income children also more eat free school breakfast and lunch, so school nutrition is essential for addressing the childhood obesity epidemic.

New directions for school nutrition

School Nutrition Association News is exploring ways to get less-expensive, healthier foods into student meals. It recommends parents follow the guidelines at home. The focus is decreasing meat and adding more protein alternatives. It is also looking for ways to increase fiber in the diet.

Louisiana childhood obesity initiatives

The Pediatrics study concluded parents and schools need be on the same page if childhood obesity is to get under control. LSU is going into the community to teach parents ways to end the fast food and junk food reliance. LSU’s AgCenter plans to host Family Nutrition Nights that focus on hands-on activities. The News Star says that beginning in January, LSU and the Children’s Coalition in Northeast Louisiana will do a “Traveling Kitchen” series in which parents learn basic cooking skills and easy, healthy recipes. Nutrition programs will focus on weight management tools like proper portion sizes, healthy snacking, the need for breakfast and counting calories in beverages. LSU will also do a series on exercise awareness for parents and schools.

Marilisa Kinney Sachteleben writes about parenting from 23 years raising four children and 25 years teaching K-8, special needs, adult education and home-school.

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