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Monday, April 16, 2007

What's Your Kid Eating for Lunch?

Books_lunchlessons_coverMy second day at the IACP conference was as mind-opening as my first. I only attended one session, but it made a huge impact on me. This is a topic that I'd love to discuss on an ongoing basis, so I'm basically going to type my notes here. I hope you all check out the links I provide and buy this book on the right. Something needs to change in this country.

The session was called Tipping the Scales - the Role of School Food in Children's Health. It was run by Ann Cooper and Kate Adamick. These women were powerhouses.

Some things I learned at the session:

  • The average food travels 1,500 miles before we eat it.
  • 10 companies control 90% of our food supply.
  • In the US, there are 2.1 million prisoners, but only 1.9 million farmers.
  • According to the CDC, of the children born in the year 2000, an estimated 30-40% will contract diabetes in their lifetime.
  • There is $500 spent on unhealthy food for every $1 spent on healthy food.
  • In this country, we spend $200 billion each year on diet-related illness, and $200 billion each year on the war. We spend just $7 billion on school lunches.
  • It has just been determined (sorry, I don't remember the organization that determined this) that children with the worst quality of life are those who are obese with diabetes. This used to be children with cancer who are undergoing chemotherapy.
  • We spend less than 10% of our income on food (half that over other developed Western countries), but 2x as much on healthcare.
  • Some important lessons about kids and food:
    • Kids love real food
    • Kids love to learn about food
    • Kids love to play with their food
    • Kids love to feel as if they belong
    • Adults have choices to make (for example, why would you dress the school lunch employees as fast food workers vs. dressing them in chef's whites?)

Some links for you:
Lunch Lessons
Eco Literacy
Kids Regen
Family Cook Productions

So, tell me. Would you like to discuss this in more detail? Do you want to somehow help change school lunches in this country? I feel so motivated and determined following this session, and would love to get to know others who feel the same way I do.


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