Better lunches: Michelle Obama's heart-healthy campaign pays off
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Students are eating healthier school lunches and breakfasts these days and, despite their grumbling, this round in the war against childhood obesity goes to first lady Michelle Obama, Congress and innovative school districts that espouse the new federal guidelines.
Mrs. Obama has made childhood obesity her cause. She's been an advocate of healthy lifestyles, urging children to exercise more and lay off sugary drinks and fat-laden snacks.
She planted a garden on the South Lawn of the White House, with the help of Washington students, and some of the vegetables end up on the Obamas' plates. She has shared her exercise routine and jeopardized her dignity using hula hoops and jumping rope. And she pushed a successful bill that imposes new guidelines on schools that provide free and reduced-price meals to 32 million children every day.
The guidelines call for daily servings of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Portions and calorie counts are controlled, and meals must have less saturated fat, trans fats and salt.
Students aren't always happy about the changes, as evidenced by a recent Twitter campaign at Plum Senior High School. But they'll get used to the new menu -- and be eating healthier.
Good nutrition isn't always cheap, and some districts have raised prices to improve food quality. But it's worth it. The childhood obesity rate is an alarming 17 percent, which will only lead to diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Meals that are good for you should earn school cafeterias a five-star rating.
First Published October 8, 2012 12:00 am