Friday, June 1, 2012

School Lunch

The very last chapter of the 5th year text book is all about foods. There is a segment about what children from other countries eat for lunch.

According to the textbook Indian people eat curry and rice and a banana for lunch, Korean people eat Kimchi, soup and rice and a banana for lunch, Finnish people eat potatoes fish, potatoes bread and salad for lunch, and Americans eat Pizza, buttered corn, jello, pretzels, and chocolate milk.

At first I was offended, but then I remembered that is what American students are offered for lunch.
There is a video that supports the books claim of what students eat for lunch, it shows what students eat at school for a whole week. The part about the American students lunches was sad and pathetic. It featured elementary school students at a Los Angeles school. Lunch items of the week consisted of pizza, french fries, hamburgers, chocolate milk, puddings, and a ton of other junk. About half of the kids at the school were very overweight. It was appalling.

Everyday at school in Japan they post the days lunch, the number of calories, and the nutritional breakdown. Nutritionists develop the menues for each day, and plan out the week so that the students will get a diversity of foods to meet their nutritional needs. Students are required to eat the full contents of their trays, and are required to eat the school lunches unless they have a doctors note excusing them from doing so.

During health class students talk about the nutrition your body needs, how to loose weight, how to gain weight, and the importance of walking. Students in my 5th year class just completed week 1 of a month long log of their daily activities. Students will all be doing a fitness test next week.

Teachers have asked me if what they hear about American school lunches is true, and I am always ashamed to have to confirm the rumors. They ask how American children keep from getting fat, but the truth is they don't. Approximately 1 in 3 American children between the ages of 2 and 19 are overweight or obese. 10% of Japanese children between the ages of 2 and 19 are overweight or obese.

"Schools should provide the healthiest meal of the day, so that children can have the freedom to enjoy treats with their parents." I have had this phrase recited to me about a dozen times by Japanese teachers.

Childhood obesity is not such a mystery when you actually look at the facts. If you feed kids crap, they will get fat.

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