Coinciding with the first anniversary of Michelle Obama's heavily-publicized campaign against childhood obesity, in a new study published in the American Heart Journal, a team of researchers at the University of Michigan found that sixth-graders who ate the lunch provided by their school were 29 percent more likely to become obese than those who brought lunch from home: a greater risk than the scientists found for those who spent a daily two hours watching TV or playing video games, which increased the obesity risk by a mere 19 percent. The researchers also warn that lunch menu promotions common in many schools, like "Tater Tot Day," send an unhealthy message to hungry children.
If at times health advocates have appeared extreme — even "The Daily Show" took a gently satirical look at San Francisco's Happy Meal ban as an act of hippie-ish political correctness, with correspondent Aasif Mandvi offering a group of morose children a scolding Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius figurine in place of their expected toy — it has to show how much traction the issue has in the media.
Whatever you think about Happy Meals, it's parents who are left with the final say in choosing what their kids eat. Do you pack your child's lunch? And can good food help lead to academic success? What do you think?
Via Well, The New York Times's health and wellness blog.