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childhood obesity epidemic
poverty level
poor nutrition
healthier foods
risk of obesity
Are School Breakfasts Contributing To The Childhood Obesity Epidemic?
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Are School Breakfasts Contributing to the Childhood Obesity Epidemic?

There is a debate over whether school breakfasts, served in the classroom of a number of schools is contributing to the childhood obesity epidemic or not. A number of school districts have cited a number of different positives since beginning the program, including better attendance rates, healthier foods being eaten by the students and more. But, New York City may not be expanding their own version of the program, citing a study that links the breakfast to an increased risk of obesity in school age children. That study, according to Linda I. Gibbs, the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services in New York City said that the program is prompting the children to get too many daily calories and is pushing weight levels even higher. Gibbs added that nearly forty percent of the students in grades K-6 are already overweight or obese.

But, Christine C. Quinn, the City Council Speaker and members of a number of child advocacy groups are slamming the results of that study and are pushing for more schools to offer breakfast in the classroom especially where hunger and poor nutrition can be a serious problem. In some of the districts in the city, according to Quinn, more than a quarter of the residents younger than the age of eighteen are well below the poverty level.

Originally, breakfast was offered in the cafeterias before the actual start of school. Many of the eligible students could not or would not make it on time and others were not comfortable showing up for the free meal. Offering breakfast to everyone in the classroom not only allowed for more to participate, it also has been shown to increase attendance and grades in the process.

Quinn said that part of the problem with the study that is being cited by officials such as Gibbs is the way that it was performed. While that study is discussing two breakfasts, it is what they are deeming a second breakfast that becomes the problem- that study could call a slice of toast a "full" meal. In most cases, the Quinn and the advocacy groups said, the children are not getting that many more calories even when they eat at home and in the classroom.

Experts have suggested a number of possible solutions that would not include ending or reducing the breakfast in the classroom program. One suggestion is to send home menus so that parents know what is being served that morning.

Street Talk

I would think any breakfast would help in the morning over not eating, and many kids rely on school for breakfast. Interesting article Amie.

  about 1 decade ago
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