Should schools be held responsible for helping children manage their health and body weight? Childhood Obesity, Junk Food, TV: Who’s Responsible? places responsibility on a variety of sources such as advertisers, parents, and the government, as well as schools. It mentions a campaign that comes from the first lady herself, Michelle Obama. Obama has started the Let’s Move campaign, which encourages children and families to be more active and healthier.
Let’s Move is trying to achieve that goal by getting healthier lunches into schools. They recognize that there is a childhood obesity problem and they believe that schools are responsible for children’s health and body weight. Others aren’t so convinced, as they think parents should be responsible for their children’s eating habits and choices.
I find myself agreeing more with Michelle Obama and the Let’s Move campaign. I do think that parents and others should take care in how they advertise to and educate children. However, when the problem is approached not from an obesity perspective, but from a hunger and food security perspective, school lunch programs become an even bigger player in the lives of those children.
Nutritious, healthy meals could have a big impact on childhood obesity, but they could have an even bigger impact on childhood hunger. As I’ve talked about in previous posts, 1 in 5 United States children are facing hunger. There are over 20 million children who get free or reduced-price school lunches on an average day at school.
As such, there are many children who rely on the meals they receive at school. Would it not be better if the food they are getting is nutritious? I would say yes, as long as those meals stay free or low-priced. However, they may not stay so affordable, as healthy food tends to be more expensive.
I acknowledge and agree that parents and others do have a responsibility to help children maintain a healthy weight. I would also say that schools have an increased responsibility because there is such a reliance on their meals from hungry children. In this way, I think that schools are responsible for helping children maintain their health and body weight. With 1 in 5 children being hungry, it is important that their stable lunch meal be as healthful as possible while still remaining affordable or free to them.