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School Lunches Leave Students' Stomachs Growling

The 2010 federal school lunch policies aren't feeding active teens enough, a group of Kansas high school students say (or rather sing) in a new video.

By Annie Hauser

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WEDNESDAY, Sept. 26, 2012 —"Give me some seconds, I need to get some food today. My friends are at the corner store getting junk, so they don't waste away..."

— Wallace County, Kan., high-school football player Callahan Grund, 16, to the tune of "We Are Young," by the band Fun.

Grund's new video, produced with the help of his teachers and classmates, is called "We Are Hungry" and features images of high-school athletes collapsing on the court. The message? That the national school lunch policy mandated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 leaves active teens practically starving by the time afternoon sports practice hits.

Under the law, championed by First Lady Michelle Obama and passed by Congress in 2010, high school lunches may be a maximum of 850 calories. Under the old rules, schools served a minimum of 825 calories per lunch.

Elementary school lunches have between 550 and 650 calories, as opposed to the 633 calories previously allowed. The act also increases the amount of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains available in the school menu. Although all public schools must adhere to federal meal requirements, decisions about which foods to serve and how they are prepared are made on a local level.

These requirements just don't provide enough fuel for active teens, students say.

"We hear them complaining around 1:30 or 2 that they are already hungry," said in Sharon Springs, Kan., where the video was produced, to ABC News. "It's all the students, literally all the students ... you can set your watch to it."

Critics of the school lunch program call it "the nanny state personified." Last week, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) pushed for unlimited calories in school lunches. In an op-ed for the Des Moines Register, he blasted this "scant diet," writing: "Kids are of varying sizes, activity levels and metabolism rates. How can we expect each child to flourish and grow on subsistence diets? This all because some are overweight."

However, federal data indicates that more than "some" children are overweight: More than one third of children and teens are overweight or obese, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports, triple the rate of 20 years ago.

And these new guidelines shouldn't leave kids feeling hungry, Kristi King, a registered dietitian at Texas Children's Hospital and a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, told ABC News. Because more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are served, kids should be eating more filling fiber than ever, she explained, which should see them through the afternoon.

TELL US: Is the school lunch policy healthy governing or nanny-state politics? Sound off in the comments.






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Date: 15.12.2018, 14:31 / Views: 84243