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Fight Against Childhood Obesity

The Associated Press reported that the Los Angeles Unified School District will no longer include flavored milk on their menu. This began on July 1st, so make sure to view your child’s school menu as they start the new school year. The ban on serving chocolate and strawberry flavored milk is the newest attempt to fight against childhood obesity.

Flavored milk, like the kind served in LA school districts, can contain the same or more amount of sugar as a candy bar or a regular soda. This is a serious problem, according to NPR, 60% of milk consumed by children in the district was flavored.

This “Chocolate Delight” milk: first ingredient = water and second ingredient = high fructose corn syrup.

LA is the second largest district, behind NYC, to ban flavored milk options from schools and will set the bar for other district’s school boards to vote on this decision. This is just another movement toward all large urban districts improving cafeteria food.

If you remember, sodas were banned on campuses in 2004. Also in 2005, it required schools to serve foods that have less salt, no added trans-fats and limited saturated fats. The trend is continuing, but many school cafeterias still have a long way to go.

Another great trend is increasing farm-to-school programs which enables more produce to be served.

The Board of Education voted 5-2 to only serve low-fat and nonfat plain milk as well as soy and lactaid. The board approved a $100-million dairy contract for the next five years, which excludes chocolate and strawberry milk.

We can thank celebrity chef, Jamie Oliver, of reality show “Food Revolution,” for backing the elimination of flavored milk. On his reality series in LA, he showed a school bus filled with sand to demonstrate how much sugar students’ intake.

In America, one in three children is considered obese. This is a scary but true fact. Here’s the break down:

  • Fat-free chocolate milk = 120 cal, 20 grams of sugar
  • Fat-free strawberry milk = 130 cal, 26 grams of sugar
  • Compared with plain nonfat milk = 90 cal, 12 grams of sugar (Milk contains natural sugar in the form of lactose)
  • A regular Coke = 26 grams of sugar

It’s time to introduce our kids to new menu items and explain to them why flavored milk is no longer being served: for their own good. There’s a lot more to childhood obesity than just flavored milk, but it’s certainly a great step in the right direction. Next up for discussion: corn dogs, chicken nuggets and of course exercise!

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Speaking of Marriage

Winifred M. Reilly, M.A., MFT

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