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School Food: “Is proper nutrition best left to the state?”

March 12, 2010

I don’t know about the rest of you, but the food in my school cafeteria was terrible. It looked bad, tasted bad, and probably had little to no healthy value. I was fed greasy pizza, scoops of slop, and chunks of mystery meat. Not only was the food unappetizing, but over the years my lunch period shrank for half an hour down to a measly fifteen minutes. Starting at a young age, children in my school district, and probably across America, are taught to eat quickly and not expect a healthy, balanced meal.

French school districts seem to have a very different approach to food. According to the article attached at the end, French public schools serve the children a 5 course meal every day for lunch. The meal includes hors d’oeuvres, salad, main course, cheese plate, and dessert.  The children are allowed the time to leisurely enjoy their meals.

One major reason for the difference in the lunch program between the two countries has to do with funding. The author of the article states that budget cuts are being made in France to reduce debt, but they are careful to leave the lunch program intact. It seems to me that America does not follow this method of fund appropriation. However if we did, the overall health of the population could increase.  By stimulating healthy eating habits early the prevalence of obesity in America could decrease.

While I know it is not feasible to introduce a meal system like this in America, it is necessary to increase the quality of school lunches here. When many children in the public schools are dependent free lunch programs, the government is doing them a disservice by not providing funds to feed them wholesome, filling meals. To answer the question in the title: nutrition is only best left to the state if the state cares enough to do it right. In my opinion, that unfortunately doesn’t seem to be the case in America.

http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1967060,00.html

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