A vast waistland lies ahead for our students | PostIndependent.com

A vast waistland lies ahead for our students

We are tearing down the nutritional pyramid, upsetting the balance of diet and feeding addictions at our local schools.

“As children mature from infancy to toddlerhood and beyond, what they eat affects their growth, development, learning ability, and general behavior,” wrote Rena Coyle and nutritionist Patricia Messing in their book, “Baby Let’s Eat!”

By not providing an appealing, low cost and nutritional lunch program at our local schools, we are making it difficult for our children to make healthy choices. It is our responsibility as parents, teachers and administrators, to ensure food that will nourish and protect our children.

Registered Nurse, Karin Knight amplifies this point: “What we consume should refine our intellect, give us inner peace, keep our mind and body strong, and enable us to function beautifully in life.”

We take better care of our automobiles than we do our children! We pay a great price (and even go to war) in order to put premium fuel in our cars. We would never put sugar down their tanks. Why don’t we care as much for our children?

“Good nutrition in childhood lays the foundation for good health throughout a person’s lifetime,” insists Jerome Kagan of Harvard University and executive editor of the GALE “Encyclopedia of Childhood and Adolescence.” He goes on to say:

“Nutrition experts recommend that parents concerned about their children’s diet become actively involved in assessing the lunch menus offered at their children’s schools and, if they are found wanting, agitating for change. Their efforts can be directed toward the food services director, school officials, and even local and state government officials.

“For example, a 1989 California law mandates the development of nutritional guidelines for school breakfasts and lunches by the state department of education.

“The federally funded National School Lunch Program ensures that lunches in participating schools provide one-third of a child’s daily nutritional requirements. It specifies foods from each of the four major food groups, including minimum amounts of meat, fruit, vegetables, grains and milk,” Kagan wrote.

Kudos go to the Garfield Re-2 school district for making the student lunch program a priority.

“Hungry minds cannot learn,” said food service director Susan Beecraft in the Sept. 17, 2002, edition of the Post Independent.

The reorganization of the Re-2 Nutrition Services Department “was made to better serve our students in each of the seven schools. Our goal is to help support student achievement,” Beecraft said.

As the district looks to opening new schools in 2004 they will be offering a variety of nutritious “main dish choices including chef salads and hoagie sandwiches daily.” Even at Rifle High School, an abundance of healthful foods are available on a daily basis in the cafeteria.

At Glenwood Springs High School, in the Re-l School District on the other hand, kids must fend for themselves. Students leave campus each day searching for food. Most of the time that means hitchin’ a ride with one of their friends to a fast food joint or City Market to purchase $6 worth of junk. That is an expensive habit to support! We can do better Glenwood Springs. We must do better for our future.

More food for thought. . . Why do we allow soft drink machines in school? There are healthy alternatives. Why, as stated in the August 1, 2002 issue of the Post Independent, did the same people in district Re-2, who are concerned about student nutrition, sign “an exclusive five-year contract with the Coca-Cola Company to provide soft drinks and other products to the district?” That is for another letter.

Randalea Milhorn of Rifle is a parent and a master’s degree


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