School officials in Carmel Clay, Ind., said they lost $300,000 last school year because students are rejecting the healthy menu changes brought on by First Lady Michelle Obama’s federal lunch regulations.
“I’ve had a lot of complaints, especially with the little guys,” Linda Wireman, a food service director for North White School Corp., told JCOnline. “They get a three-quarters cup of vegetables, but if it’s something they don’t like, it goes down the garbage disposal. So there are a lot of complaints they’re going home hungry.”
Amy Anderson, the food service director for the school district, said the rules made her feel less like an educator and more like a “food cop.” The changes have even made her consider retiring early.
Lori Shofroth, Tippecanoe School Corp.’s food service director, said many students are throwing food away, putting a dent in the district’s budget.
“They’re teaching our kids with this meal pattern that it’s OK to throw away,” she told JCOnline. “We did a waste study on three different schools, and there was a huge amount of waste. That was just with produce, fruit or vegetables or milk.”
Other students don’t eat the lunches at all, resulting in a $300,000 loss for the district.
“I’ve got kids who can stop at Panera and pick up a sandwich that meets none of these criteria. I’m not maybe your typical school district, and they’re assuming that every student doesn’t have access to food, and that’s incorrect in this community,” Amy Anderson told the paper. “Our kids can just wait and just hop in their BMWs and go to McDonald’s, which they’re rebuilding, making it bigger.”
As reported by the Harvard School of Public Health Childhood obesity has been called “one of the most serious public health challenges of the 21st century,” and with good reason.
Obesity can harm nearly every system in a child’s body—heart and lungs, muscles and bones, kidneys and digestive tract, as well as the hormones that control blood sugar and puberty—and can also take a heavy social and emotional toll. (2) What’s worse, youth who are overweight or obese have substantially higher odds of remaining overweight or obese into adulthood, (3) increasing their risk of disease and disability later in life.