Target: Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, (B.E.S.E)
Goal: To demand higher quality and nutritional standards for public school lunches statewide.
In a state where one third of the adolescent population suffers from childhood obesity and the medical costs associated with this problem have exceeded $127 million, the failure of the state to take action to establish healthy standards for school lunch programs is unthinkable.
While some Louisiana Parish school boards have committed to removing junk foods from the lunch menu, children in poorer urban and rural schools have not seen a reduction in the high fat, low value entrees placed before them in the cafeteria each day. In one Louisiana Parish, breakfast choices include grilled lunchmeat, sausage biscuits, and buttered grits. Lunch menus include high sodium ham products, rice and gravy, buttered vegetables, French fries, and chili dogs.
Budgetary concerns fueled by a lack of government funding and the inability of parents to keep their children’s lunch payments current has caused some concern regarding the feasibility of implementing healthier meals in Louisiana schools. Other opponents to change state that the current school lunch menus cater to the cultural climate of the state’s residents and that the children would simply refuse to eat lunch if the menus were changed to include healthier choices.
The benefits of finding healthier food choices for Louisiana children can’t be measured from a budgetary perspective. They will be seen in better focus and attendance from strong, healthy children and a reduction in the burden of soaring medical costs for state aid programs. Cultural change comes from education and for Louisiana children living in obesity prone homes, school lunch may be the only healthy meal they consume each day.
Dear Louisiana B.E.S.E Board Members
It’s time to take a stand for the health and well being of Louisiana children by implementing mandatory nutritional standards for school lunch programs. There has been no decrease in the percentage of obese and overweight adolescents in the state as medical costs associated with obesity have risen from $35 million to $127 million over the past twenty years.
Research has proven that children who eat healthy concentrate better in school, do better on standardized tests, are absent from school less frequently, and have fewer behavioral problems. Why wouldn’t a state with low academic performance and high rates of obesity see this correlation and take action to correct the problem?
Promoting healthy eating habits begins with offering our children healthy food choices in school. Please take a stand against childhood obesity and implement higher standards for school lunches in all Louisiana public schools.
[Your Name Here]