Education starts from the ground up

Some Statistics

The Child Nutrition Act, which supplies breakfast and lunch to some 31 million students = $12 billion annually.

The elementary school lunches average 821 calories per lunch.

80% of schools do not meet the USDA standards for fat composition.

Children who consume school lunches are about 2% more likely to be obese than those who brown bag their lunches.

Soda vending machines are present in 43% of elementary schools, 74% of middle schools and nearly all of high schools.”

Nutrition requirements for school lunches: “Current regulations require schools to meet the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which recommend that no more than 30 percent of an individual's calories come from fat, and less than 10 percent from saturated fat. Regulations also establish a standard for school meals to provide one-third of the Recommended Daily Allowances of protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, iron, calcium, and calories.”

“The National School Lunch Program gets about 15 to 20 percent of its food from the federal government each year, the paper says, with beef and chicken making up a big portion of the largess. But the meat received from the USDA receives far less testing for contamination than it would be by fast-food outlets that have had past troubles.”

“Most public schools offer students a government-subsidized lunch that is supposed to adhere to certain fat, caloric and nutritional standards. 20% of schools also sell branded fast foods such as Pizza Hut and Little Caesars pizza or McDonald's burgers and fries, according to a 2000 study of school health policies and programs by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 16 percent of children (over 9 million) 6-19 years old are overweight or obese -- a number that has tripled since 1980.
For children born in the United States in 2000, the lifetime risk of being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes at some point in their lives is estimated to be about 30 percent for boys and 40 percent for girls. ("Preventing Childhood Obesity: Health in the Balance, 2005," Institute of Medicine.)

In case reports limited to the 1990s, Type 2 diabetes accounted for 8 to 45 percent of all new pediatric cases of diabetes, in contrast with fewer than 4 percent before the 1990s.
("Preventing Childhood Obesity: Health in the Balance, 2005," Institute of Medicine.)

By as early as 7 years of age, being obese may raise a child's risk of future heart disease and stroke, even in the absence of other cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure, according to a new study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM).

“The likelihood of developing Type 2 diabetes and hypertension rises steeply with increasing body fatness. Confined to older adults for most of the 20th century, this disease now affects obese children even before puberty. Approximately 85% of people with diabetes are type 2, and of these, 90% are obese or overweight…Raised BMI also increases the risks of cancer of the breast, colon, prostate, endometroium, kidney and gallbladder.” (World Health Organization)

The CDC reviewed the discharge records of hospitals nationwide from 1979 to 1999, specifically of children ranging in age from 6 to 17 years and analyzed the results for all obesity-related illnesses. The researchers found that the incidence of:

• Diabetes had nearly doubled
• Obesity and gallbladder disease tripled
• Sleep apnea increased five-fold

More than 70% obese adolescents retain their overweight and obese condition even during their adulthood.

As the percentages of obese children raises, so does the percentage of those affected with juvenile diabetes at nearly the same rate.

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