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Are Your Children Coming Home From School Hungry?

Used to be we were worried about kids going to school hungry, but could recent attempts to combat childhood obesity be reversing that trend?

A recent question regarding whether or not to ban chocolate milk in nearby Decatur schools fired up local readers about the low calorie requirements at schools.

"This just drives me nuts. I had lunch with my sons the other day & added up the calories of their school lunch - it was just over 200 calories. These kids are starving at school," one Patch reader commented. She went on to say, "Last year, I packed lunch - until my son (who's in the 5th percentile in weight - meaning in the very low end for his height) had his yogurt taken away because it wasn't healthy enough - its yogurt for gosh sakes! And, this kid is skinny as can be! And - I PACKED IT for MY KID. Yeah, there might be overweight kids, but what about the ones who really need to gain weight, have active lives & fast metabolisms?"

Another commenter said a check of WebMD revealed the recommended daily caloric count for an active male age 4 to 8 is 1,600 per day.

"That 220 calorie lunch is already not enough for our kids. Don't take more away," she commented. "Sorry, I think I'm sensitive on this topic... I have to watch my 48lb 7-year-old get crushed by 90 lb. boys at football all of the time!" 

Well, it appears Patch readers in Georgia are not alone in these views. A video, making the rounds on YouTube, was made recently by students and teachers in Kansas. In the video, the students sing, "We are Hungry," to the tune of "We are Young."

Do you think recent moves to cap calories for student lunches is taking it too far? Is the health of students being compromised as a result?

Peggy Kriegel September 29, 2012 at 01:01 PM
You can thank Michelle Obama for changing all the school lunches.
Brian Crawford September 29, 2012 at 03:52 PM
I could never do this ridiculous topic justice but I know someone who can. Roll tape.... http://www.mediaite.com/tv/jon-stewart-blasts-fox-news-over-school-lunch-hypocrisy-if-obama-was-against-diabetes-fox-would-be-for-it/
Heather September 29, 2012 at 05:41 PM
I think the school lunch system needs to be looked at closely. I've heard of fraud in the North Fulton area where kids are being charged for a full meal price when they buy extras due to the supervisors and principals receiving bonuses on lunch sales. I no longer let my kids buy extras for fear this may be happening everywhere. My kids do come home hungry BC I have had to limit them. Parents should look at this especially schools on Birmingham Hwy.
R++ One of the Famous Dacula Crew September 29, 2012 at 06:14 PM
Confiscating lunch contents brought from home surely is ridiculous and a practice that should be halted immediately. However, if you choose to rely on the school lunch program, then you get to eat what’s served.
SUNKEN SUB September 29, 2012 at 06:41 PM
The picture above says it all. The problem starts at HOME and gets Worse during the day. Proper diet is a 24/7 problem not a 25 minute lunch break problem. No wonder we have such abysmal (successful) graduation rates.
R++ One of the Famous Dacula Crew September 29, 2012 at 06:57 PM
That video is very entertaining and downright funny
Tammy Osier September 29, 2012 at 11:56 PM
I can't say I disagree with trying to combat obesity in kids. This is the most overfed generation i've ever seen. On that I dod agree with Michelle Obama. However, what I send to school is MINE to give, and I would consider it theft to take it from my child. That's over-reachimg. Like I said, keeping it healthy is one thing, and like R said, if you buy it, it is what it is. But keep your hands off what I bring from home.
Tammy September 30, 2012 at 02:19 AM
This lunch program is getting ridiculous. As I do agree that child obesity is a problem, we also need to think about the children who are not obese,the children who are under weight and the children who are in sports. I have a son in High School and one in Middle School. My son in High School is on the Mat Wrestling team, he is far from being over weight. He is very active and needs calories to maintain his 6' 0" 160lb frame. Him having 4 nuggets 8 sweet potato fries and 3 carrot sticks is far from being enough to satisfy him the whole day,and then to go to wrestling practice for two hours after school. He has tried to take in his packed lunch or snacks, but is not allowed to take food into classes and they will not let him go to his locker to get them at lunch time. My younger son plays football, and he is having the same problems. I would love for the all the parents to go to their children's school and see what and how much is served. These children are not getting enough calories for their age, and height. My boys eat healthy at home, and that is where it starts at home. Also,eating healthy is one thing,but what about exercise??? These kids are lucky enough to get 10 minutes of outside time during school, so isn't it said that "yes,it is good to diet and eat healthy,but in order to make it stick and last,you have to exercise too". Also you can also blame the schools when your child is doing poorly in class and falling asleep, because like they say food equals fuel.
Denna Millard September 30, 2012 at 11:42 AM
I sincerely DOUBT the writer of the article - she counted 200 calories for the school lunch! I think it is the RESPONSIBILITY OF THE PARENTS to feed their children GOOD NUTRITIONAL BREAKFASTS. I think you are using Mrs. Obama as the scapcoat. There is supposed to be a balance of fruits and vegtables on the plate. If not, it is the school's dietician not doing their job as was suggested and implemented. Also, I have seen way to many articles and videos that children are throwing away their lunches because they do not want to either try new things or just PITCHING A TEMPERTANTRUM because they are not eating fatty, non-nutritional foods. I blame the parents for not being informative about nutrition and the obesity of their children (unless they have a hormonal problem). The school lunch is not supposed to be responsible for the children majority of caloric count for the day!
Mary Lou September 30, 2012 at 12:56 PM
Start as well with school buses dropping kids at the entrance to their neighborhood rather than in front of, or almost in front of, their house! Put plenty of rec time and physical activities back in these kids school days..they have taken a ton of it away! Help teach kids to make healthy choices, believe it or not, they really will! Feed them their recommended portion of their daily caloric needs to thrive in school. Its really not that hard. OR..remove them from public schools and free yourself from the stress of dealing with this ridiculousness, like we did!
Susan September 30, 2012 at 01:01 PM
I sub in the schools and see kids THROW AWAY the fresh fruit they are FORCED to take. What makes it even worse is that they are NOT permitted to take food out of the cafeteria to eat later for a snack, so it's just eat it on the spot or throw it out. Years ago some teachers would alvage apples, pears, oranges and bananas to take to the food coops, but that is illegal. Our federal government mandates that these fruits be trhown away if not eaten during the kids' 20 minute lunch period.
Tammy Osier September 30, 2012 at 02:09 PM
Deanna - that's it. Kids are going to crave fatty, packaged food if that's what they're used to at home. IN my family we go by the adage that if it has a shelf life, it's probably not good for you, but if it willspoil in a day or two, it probably is. It takes the same amount of time to microwave REAL oatmeal, and add your own cinnamon and small amount of brown sugar, as it does to open a package of it that's full of someone else's version of how much sugar you need. It's a matter of taking a little extra time to prepare something that's closer to its natural form sans all the additives.
Doh! October 01, 2012 at 01:08 AM
Oh great idea...have the kids dropped off away from their homes so pedophiles can stalk them...
Mary Lou October 04, 2012 at 12:34 PM
Doh!- There are plenty of ways to help ensure a child's safety, like there USE to be..block parents for one..a system in place for kids to communicate with their parent when their child has arrived home safely, etc..and pedophiles I would imagine..have a much larger chance of exposure and chance to kids these days via the internet and computers these days that so many kids live on..when outside being active would actually protect them more so from them. In a 2 parent or 1 parent working family...a kid gets home of average about 2 hrs of less before a parent can get home to be with them and then they themselves take the time to go outside with them. If they are not old enough to stay by themselves, I am assuming they are sent to daycare til the parent retrieves them. There are ways to set up safety measures so your kid can get some exercise in..and that wasn't the only part of my comment offering a partial solution, but see you just chose that one part to reply too. What about the reduction or out right cut of recess time for kids while at school ? what are some of your ideas to implement some exercise in addition to healthier options for food? cant overlook the importance of exercise as well in the problem with overweight and or obese kids.
Tammy Osier October 13, 2012 at 02:23 PM
Funny you should use that as a point maryLou. I was talking wit ha friend the other day who was telling me that they took the basketball goals down in her subdivision. Complainers didn't like the idea of their younger kids (on a nearby playground) being exposed to the teenagers. My question, and hers, was "where are the parents (aka complainers) to monitor their kids?????" Her answer- at the pool or tennis court. Parents have to find some way to be responsible for their own. But in the meantime, now the teens have no outlet. Kind of like cutting off their noses to spite their faces . Rest your case. It was a good one.
Athens Mama October 13, 2012 at 02:42 PM
If someone took away my child's yogurt, they would face a lawsuit by me. Honestly. The best diets include small, healthy snacks throughout the day. It's CRAZYLAND where students aren't allowed to eat small snacks, especially if they are participating in demanding sports programs. The school lunches are good, except that there is too much oil. I think it is best to send lunch at least 3 days a week and then let my child eat the school lunch 2 days a week. Breakfast at home is almost always healthier that the breakfast served at school. Sugar and fried foods first thing in the morning are enough to cause brain (academic) disfunction.
Tammy Osier October 13, 2012 at 02:58 PM
Question is, Athens mama, where does this happen? It doesn't happen in any school I've ever worked in. But in the event you find out where it does, then I think people should shout it from the roof tops. But, in the end, parental responsibility is the key.
Tammy Osier October 13, 2012 at 03:02 PM
Personally, if any of you want to stand up for something, find ways to get involved in the processes of the decision making where it concerns exercise and programs that promote it. When cutting funds to schools, those are the first programs to hit the chopping block. Got to get the word out on how exercise affects learning and the mental capacities and coping skills for children. I believe there is a correlation.

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