February 9, 2014

Broad policy isn’t the most effective

Last week the Whitfield County Board of Education got proactive and decided to go ahead and implement parts of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFK). That’s a federal law that expands the National School Lunch Program that was passed in 2010. It goes into effect July 1.

The goal of the act is to feed hungry children during school hours who may not get enough to eat at home while at the same time battle childhood obesity. It appears the two issues are at opposite ends of the spectrum, but the federal plan claims to address both.

One of the areas the local school board took up concerns the law’s impact on bake sales and vending machine revenue — fundraising mechanisms that provide much-needed supplies for schools. Any food sales on school grounds, during school hours, will need to be within certain nutritional guidelines.

On the plus side, the law only applies during school hours, meaning students and school officials can still sell what they want at events that take place after school, such as Friday night football games, or on weekends. And fundraising off school grounds isn’t affected.

Otherwise, the federal law is quite precise:

Food must fall within calorie limits of less than 200 calories for snacks and 350 for meals, and sodium limits of less than 230 milligrams for snacks and 480 milligrams for meals. Then there are stated limits on fats and amounts of sugar in foods.

The law also limits food sold to those containing whole grains, fruits, vegetables, dairy products, proteins or food that is at least one-fourth a fruit or vegetable. Drinks will have to be either plain water, unflavored low-fat milk, fat-free milk or 100 percent fruit or vegetable juices.

“There will be a downside” with fundraising, said Angie Brown, school nutrition director for the school system.

No kidding.

“We will have to look at each individual product and make sure (it falls within the law),” she said. “And that will mean some big changes.”

Will schools have to hire nutritional analysts to examine those baked goods brought from home to sell at school events?

This part of the HHFK Act doesn’t even address the changes that are coming for lunches and breakfasts served at school.

The federal government should remember that children are not obese because they eat school lunches. Many children are obese because they don’t get enough exercise. They don’t walk to or from school, they don’t eat healthy meals at home and they do lots of sitting in front of the computer and the television.

The overall goal of the program — helping kids build healthier habits for better lives — still is well worth pursuing.

But the federal government’s solution that a complex, intrusive meal plan fits all is all wrong.


Text Only
  • Successes continue at Dalton State College

    These are exciting times for our local college, Dalton State, both on campus and off.

    April 16, 2014

  • Mark Millican: The birds hushed their singing

    For the uninitiated, that line is from what many consider the greatest rock song of all time, “Stairway to Heaven,” by Led Zeppelin.

    April 15, 2014

  • Misty Watson: When blood sugar drops, anger rises

    It wouldn’t have taken 107 married couples and 21 days to figure out that being hungry makes people angry.

    April 15, 2014

  • Working for the man

    You may be one of the many Americans who will rush to file their income taxes today. But you may not yet have earned enough money to pay all of the taxes that will be imposed on you this year.

    April 15, 2014

  • Letter: The glib tongue, the fake smile

    A recent Daily Citizen column by Walter Williams will both awaken and frighten any thinking person who claims even a smidgen of knowledge about — or belief in —  either the Bible, world history or current events.

    April 15, 2014

  • College soccer team would bring local talent together

    Dreams of combining the best soccer players from all local high schools into one team finally could come true.

    April 13, 2014

  • Letter: Primaries feature many choices

    Many people are confused this year about the May 20 Election Day. Unfortunately, very few voters in Whitfield County actually go to the polls for a primary election. But this means any increase in participation can have a significant impact.

    April 12, 2014

  • Letter: Hooper for Murray chief magistrate

    Thanks to all the wonderful people and friends who backed me for District 1 Murray County Board of Education. You sure showed a lot of support. Sorry I had to step down due to my and my wife’s health. I am a lot better now.

    April 12, 2014

  • Judicial dispute could have been avoided

    Judicial elections in Whitfield and Murray counties tend to be low key. In fact, we can’t recall the last time an incumbent judge on the Conasauga Superior Court, which cover the two counties, has even faced a challenger.

    April 12, 2014

  • Citizen of the Week: Jonathan Rose

    Running for exercise is a popular hobby among many local residents, but at least one racing enthusiast plans to take his fun a step further today.

    April 11, 2014