Opinion

School lunch regulations do not identify the problems

There are few redeeming qualities I can find when I look at our 45th president, however, I give credit where credit is due, and I support his rolling back of the Obama-era school lunch regulations.

For those who are still in school like me, we do not need to read any graphs or charts to know that an incredible amount of food goes to waste each day come lunchtime. Those rotting oranges and under ripe bananas by the trash cans are evidence enough. 

School administrations have bent over backwards to provide regulation-approved meals that will also be easy on their money belts. Nevertheless, the school system has had to prioritize quantity over quality. The school lunches many lower income students depend on for a regular meal are notoriously poor quality, which in no way is an insult to the men and women who are hard at work behind the cafeteria lines. Their hands are tied, despite their best efforts to make low fat milk and wet lettuce appetizing.

This nation is facing an obesity epidemic no doubt, and I am standing right in front of the line of people wanting to see Americans eat better. But healthy eating starts at home. Healthy eating is a personal lifestyle choice, just like religious or political convictions. Try as it might, the government, no matter how good-natured its intentions, cannot successfully regulate the lifestyles of Americans. 

According to the CDC, childhood obesity and Americans’ health in general have barely improved, if at all since the installation of the Obama administration’s good-intentioned program. In other words, the school lunch program does not properly identify nor attack the problem’s source. 

Americans by and large are depressed, overworked and often times short on cash. The inexpensive, quick and unhealthy diet we have become accustomed to seems to be a necessity to survive in the hustling and bustling of modern American life. Unfortunately, these bad eating habits are hereditary, thus leading to the childhood obesity problem we face now. 

We all would like to have three-hour lunch breaks like the French and food from the closest farm at every store and restaurant like the Greeks, and this Utopian dream on the other side of the Atlantic can be ours if more than the government is working toward this audacious goal.

Successfully combating obesity will require the commitment of the public and private sector as well as the government. The food industry must prioritize quality over quantity and roll back the addictive salt, fat and sugar in their products. Employers must allot longer lunch breaks for workers really to taste and digest their food. Maybe they will even dare to socialize with one another. And the American people have to be committed to their own well-being as well as the well-being of future generations.

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