Obesity, diabetes and school lunches

The House of Representatives voted to allow states to opt out of the government’s recommendations for health food in school lunches.

It seems to me they put the interests of the fast food lobby ahead of our children’s health. According to the Center for Disease Control, we are eating ourselves into a diabetes epidemic. The International Diabetes Foundation (IDF) says that “Diabetes and obesity are the biggest public health challenge of the 21st century.”

The supporting statistics they cite are staggering: As of 1999, diabetes affected 16 million (six percent) of Americans – an increase of 40 percent in just 10 years.

During the same period, the obesity rate climbed from 12 percent to almost 20 percent. Last year the diabetes and obesity rates increased 6 percent and 57 percent. Every three seconds, someone is diagnosed with diabetes.

Of the children born in 2000, one in three will eventually develop diabetes.

As obesity rates in children have climbed, so has the incidence of Type 2 diabetes, and a new study adds another worry: the disease progresses more rapidly in children than in adults.

“It’s frightening how severe this metabolic disease is in children,” said Dr. David M. Nathan, an author of the study and director of the diabetes center at Massachusetts General Hospital.

“It’s really got a hold on them, and it’s hard to turn around.” The New York Times published an article in 2011 which included the following;

“An increasingly cozy alliance between companies that manufacture processed foods and companies that serve the meals is making students – a captive market – fat and sick while pulling in hundreds of millions of dollars in profits. At a time of fiscal austerity, these companies are seducing school administrators with promises to cut costs through privatization. Parents who want healthier meals, meanwhile, are outgunned.”

When given free choice, kids tend to eat foods that are loaded with sugar, fat and calories. As the “adults in the room” literally, we need to make it easier for our children to eat foods that will not contribute to diabetes, kidney disease and heart problems as they age.

Healthy habits begin in childhood.

John W. Merrick

Newnan



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