Improve NYC School Food Now!
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Our children are in crisis. 1 in 5 kindergarten children in New York City is obese; 1 in 4 HeadStart kids. We have 8 year olds year olds on cholesterol lowering and blood pressure lowering medication, we have type 2 diabetes becoming epidemic in children, we have 50% of 2-15 year olds with fatty streaks in their arteries already and this is literally the beginning stages of heart disease in our children.
We are responsible for our children’s future — for nurturing their minds and fueling their bodies and giving them the ability to succeed and shape positive life long behaviors and attitudes.
And in New York City, a leader in so many progressive movements, we are dropping the ball in school food.
We serve highly processed foods from a bag to the oven: mozzarella sticks, chicken nuggets, beef burgers and meat patties and pizza. To be washed down with sweetened flavored milk (20 grams of sugar per 8 ounces).
In addition, our kids eat quickly and often don't have enough time to finish their lunches.
Our kids need nutrition education, so that they understand how food can help (or harm) your body. They need gardens to teach them where food comes from and to help them learn to appreciate the connection between the farm and the plate.
We are urging Chancellor Carranza and Mayor de Blasio to take action now to change the way we feed our kids. With the support of the office of Borough President Eric Adams, we are advocating to reform the school food across our city, beginning with K-8.
We are proposing a holistic plan for school food that includes:
(1) Scratch-cooked, culturally-relevant meals;
(2) Nutrition and culinary education for kids, families and school staff;
(3) Kitchen gardens at all schools; and
(4) A full 30 minutes for kids to eat their lunch.
It is time to harness our collective impatience with school food and make a change. That time is now!
I am a journalist and a mother of two public school children. I have seen first hand how food can change a life. Nutrient-dense, whole foods can make kids more alert, help them focus, reduce their risk for diseases long term. School food is feeding the health crisis not helping it. ALL CHILDREN deserve healthy and delicious culturally appropriate meals. We are here to ensure that happens every day in our K-8 public schools. Thank you for signing and helping make a change that will affect generations to come!
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