The U.S. House of Representatives dealt a blow to childhood obesity warriors on Thursday by passing a bill that abandons proposals that threatened to end the reign of pizza and French fries on federally funded school lunch menus.
The scuttled changes, which would have stripped pizza's status as a vegetable and limited how often French fries could be served, stemmed from a 2010 child nutrition law calling on schools to improve the nutritional quality of lunches served to almost 32 million U.S. school children.
Let's face it, cheap frozen pizzas have little nutritional value at all. There are some gourmet versions of pizza that really do have full servings of fresh veggies piled on them- but that is not what they are serving up in the USDA school lunches.
Ironically, while starch & pizza as a vegetable will be served, many cash strapped schools have eliminated physical fitness programs entirely, or families need to pony up hundreds of dollars to participate in sports programs.
Due to the tanked economy a huge proportion of children qualify for the free or reduced price meals served at schools.
The problem is the obesity epidemic. In the food world, starchy, lower quality foods are generally cheaper, so low income families tend to purchase them to stretch food budgets. But each bad or marginal choice food children are served all adds up & they wind up with the host of health problems obesity causes.
School cafeteria food is marginal anyway, I once heard it described as best in class for "accuracy & distance" (think food fight). But for some kids the school meals programs maybe the main or only meals they get on any given day- making what is served even all the more important.