Here is a perfect example of a national program gone awry, Save Jerseyans.
We know that Michelle Obama’s solemn vow as First Lady is to reduce childhood obesity. The federal government created a National Schools Lunch Program to regulate the types of lunches served in public schools and the U.S Department of Agriculture developed new regulations for introducing more produce into school lunches to achieve the goal of healthier meals.
There are, however, a few of issues with this initiative:
Point 1: Eating healthy foods costs more money. Anyone who has gone on a diet is painfully aware of this fact. As a result, not everyone can afford the higher-priced lunches being served in the participating schools.
Point 2: These kids need sustenance! Fruits and veggies are all fine and good, but they need enough nutrients to get them through the rest of their day. Just like a heavy meal will make a person sluggish, not having enough vitamins and minerals will have the same effect. These kids are HUNGRY! They CAN have other food groups available to them that are not high in calories. They aren’t rabbits…
The mandate is to cut calories for kids. That means more produce and less “other stuff.” So before, they might have been getting four chicken nuggets for lunch, now they are getting two because that will reduce their calorie intake. Students AND teachers alike are up in arms over these regulations because they are just not getting enough of a meal anymore.
Here is another example: what about the athletes at these schools? How can these reduced-calorie lunches POSSIBLY give them the energy they need in order to perform when they are BURNING so many calories?
Point 3: The job of the federal government should NOT include formulating and implementing nation-wide school lunch programs. It is simply out of the scope of what the U.S. Constitution intended when it described the powers of the federal government versus those of the states. Consider this, Save Jerseyans: New Jersey has farms galore, all throughout its 21 counties – it isn’t called The Garden State for nothing!
If there was a state-run program to attempt a reduction in childhood obesity, the government would be working closely with our own farming community to make more nutritious foods available in schools and because we understand our own state better than the federal agencies, we could probably further reduce pricing through subsidies. Think about this concept comparatively on the national level. Some states that subscribe to the lunch program may not have large farming communities in contrast to others. So the federal government subsidies would have to be divided equally for all schools. As a result, the subsidies would not make as much of a positive impact on costs to kids (and their families) across the country.
The reality is that there are high costs incurred to harvest the produce and then transport it to the areas that subscribe to the program. If these were state-run programs, the costs could be dramatically reduced because everything is being handled inter-state instead of intra-state. Further, the individual governments would be able to more effectively construct programs to benefit their residents because they know and understand their economies and the resources that are available to them.
The bottom line, folks, is that while this is a well-intentioned program, it is yet ANOTHER instance of the federal government overstepping its bounds, and at the expense of our kids.
Not very appetizing…