What’s wrong with school lunches?

Ann Cooper is the Director of Nutrition Services for the Berkeley Unified School District in the US. Her main mission is to educate the children on healthy foods and educate their parents also. She firmly believes that we are ‘feeding our children to death’. While it sounds cynical, the CDC compiled statistics to back it up: of all the children born in the year 2000, 1 out of 3 Caucasians, 1 out of 2 African-Americans and Hispanics are going to have diabetes in their lifetime and most of them before they graduate high school. It means that 40 to 45% of all school-aged children could be diabetics within a decade.
Cooper puts at fault the USDA and big agribusiness like Monsanto and DuPont. She says that because the USDA will allow it, Monsanto and others will boost pesticides and herbicides usage on their crops. Every year, the US agriculture will use up to 1.2 billion pounds of pesticides on their crops. This means that every year, everyone will consume around 5 pounds of pesticides. That’s not the only hazardous product humans ingest. Antibiotics are also consumed for no reason. Around 70% of all antibiotics consumed in America are consumed in animal husbandry. Children are fed antibiotics in beef and other protein every day. This is very harmful to the population. It brings antibiotic resistance so diseases are becoming stronger and making people sicker, especially children.
Enormous amounts of money are spent to the profit of non-nutrient foods marketing, 20 billion dollars to be exact. Most of these marketing campaign are geared towards children, that is 10 000 ads most kids will see. It teaches the children that if they don’t get these chicken nuggets or that new brand of soda, it will be the end of their world.
Cooper’s list of goals includes teaching children about where food comes from and what it actually looks like. She claims that children and parents alike need to re-learn how they should view food, health and good nutrition. She believes in farm-to-school programs, cooking classes and gardening classes as a full part of the educational curriculum of each school district. She focuses on the importance of organic and locally produced food. In Harlem, Cooper founded EATWISE: Enlightened and Aware Teens Who Inspire Smart Eating. These teens now teach their peers about smart eating. Unfortunately, schools are underfunded and cannot afford programs like EATWISE. Cooper is a huge believer in PPPs and she says that they are the foundation of this. She also says that the USDA shouldn’t be responsible for schools nutrition’s, the CDC should. If we started to think about food as a health initiative, there wouldn’t be corn dogs and chicken nuggets in the children’s plates.

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