Yet Another Feel Good Gov’t Program Going Awry – Free Breakfast Increases Obesity in School Children

We have heard a great deal about the obesity levels of young children in this country.  I agree they are startlingly high.  But the answers that the government has come up with don’t seem to be working.  Who would have seen that coming?  

Turns out that the free breakfast that is being offered to low-income children is actually increasing the levels of overweight children.  It seems that these parents are not as irresponsible as the government has thought that they were and the vast majority of these kids are now eating two breakfasts every morning, which of course increases their caloric intake for the day. 
 
Nearly half of New York’s elementary and middle-school students are overweight or obese, according to a public health official quoted in the news story. Thus the concern in expanding a free meal program created for malnourished kids from poor families that can’t afford food. Parents from low-income New York schools who were interviewed for the piece expressed concern that their kids were getting breakfast in class because they eat at home every morning.

One mother said she actually reduced what her five-year-old eats at home because he has a second breakfast at school. This obviously creates doubts about the need for this taxpayer-funded meal program. Uncle Sam is already feeding a record 45 million people via food stamps and the number is quickly growing, according to the most recent government figures.

It also turns out that many of the school systems in lower-income areas are completely skipping the cafeteria and feeding the breakfast right in the classroom.  To remove the stigma.  So we are feeding children who are not even necessarily low-income, because they don’t anyone to feel bad so every child receives a free meal and the number of these free meals in the morning has more than tripled in school districts like Chicago.  

Wouldn’t the money we are spending on this program be more effectively used to improve the education that kids are receiving?  The drop out rate in the city of Chicago was 55.7% in 2008.  Well above the national average of 30%.  Other major metropolitan areas don’t fare much better.  In the city of Detroit kids are going without school books in schools that are falling down. 

We need to look at how we are spending our educational dollars and realize that the main goal is educate our children and we are failing big time in giving the next generation the tools that they need in order to thrive in a competitive world.  We continue to lower standards; instead of raising our children up we are letting them down and continue with the dumbing down our kids.  

…the mathematics components of the Common Core State Standards Initiative are a bitter disappointment. In terms of their limited vision of math education, the pedestrian framework chosen to organize the standards, and the incoherent nature of the standards for mathematical practice in particular, I don’t see how these take us forward in any way.

Says Grant Wiggins, curriculum expert.   

But hey, at least they are getting fatter.