Crisis: children overweight, diabetic, and increasingly on cholesterol and blood-pressure drugs. They have heartbreaking low self-esteem. Help protect kids, improve school food, and teach nutrition education.
It is a scary fact that thirty percent of New York children are either overweight or obese. Thirty-three percent of all U.S. children, and forty to fifty-three of Latino and African-American children born in 2000 will get type 2 diabetes. And yet, typical school entrees are cheeseburgers, chicken nuggets, mozzarella sticks, pepperoni pizza, and grilled cheese - foods high in cholesterol, saturated fat and sodium, and there is a whole school food environment that constantly tempts our children with junk food. The New York Coalition for Healthy School Food is working to change that. We started our healthy eating and education project at Future Leaders Institute ("FLI"), a charter school in Harlem. Our goal is to teach students and their families that they can prevent diet-related diseases and enjoy good health with delicious affordable food.
Working in partnership with the New York City Office of School Food and Candle 79 - a top Zagat rated restaurant - we prepare a healthy plant-based entrée in the cafeteria at lunch as an alternative to the standard fare.The comprehensive program consists of nutrition education integrated into the school curriculum and a monthly family education night which includes a free dinner, cooking demo, raffle and learning activities. As one parent said to the Head of School at Back to School Night, "It's encouraging that the school cares about more than just homework and test grades. They seem genuinely interested in the welfare of our children."