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Week of 1/3/11: Healthy schools highlights

Charter choices: good food, free food, no food

The Los Angeles Times reports that – unlike traditional campuses that must follow state nutrition regulations for schools – charter schools can make independent decisions about what’s for lunch. Some charter school officials decide not to serve it at all, even if that might mean that the nutrition needs of some of the state’s poorest children are not being met.

Latinos and obesity in America

La Voz Colorado says that perhaps the most plaguing health epidemic to the American population right now is the issue of obesity.

 In November, the newspaper covered the dangers of childhood obesity and turned to parents, schools and media to explain the problem. Read now, as La Voz Colorado delves into the crisis at the adult level by viewing the statistics, genetic influence and diseases that stem from being overweight.

Federal school lunches – not breakfasts – linked to childhood obesity

This is an older ScienceDaily story (published in August) but since EdNews Parent wasn’t launched yet – we’re linking to it now.

New research funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture finds that children who eat school lunches that are part of the federal government’s National School Lunch Program are more likely to become overweight.

Public health school gets grant to boost phys ed in rural Colorado

The Aurora Sentinel reports that a public health school based on the Anschutz Medical Campus will draw on $1.8 million in grant money to help boost nutrition and physical education programs in rural Colorado.

The Colorado School of Public Health received the funding earlier this month from the Colorado Health Foundation, an organization that invests in health-related nonprofits across the state. The $1.8 million will go toward connecting more than 11,000 elementary, middle and high school students in the San Luis Valley and Eastern Colorado with nutritious meals and expanded physical education programs.

Next agriculture chief stops state’s push to bar flavored milk in schools

The Orlando Sentinel reports that Adam Putnam, who will soon take over as Florida’s agriculture commissioner, has put a halt to the state’s effort to ban chocolate milk and most other high-sugar drinks in Florida schools.

His action, in the form of a letter sent to the State Board of Education, delays indefinitely the board’s ongoing debate on whether to rid public schools of the kinds of sweet drinks that medical experts say contribute to childhood obesity and diabetes.

Parents have less sway over kids’ diets than expected

The Oklahoman newspaper reports on the latest research on the role of parents in their children’s diets.

Susanna DeRocco uses homegrown vegetables in meals that her two young sons help prepare. She helps the boys understand food labels and decode messages from advertisers. She supports improvements in school lunches.

About our First Person series:

First Person is where Chalkbeat features personal essays by educators, students, parents, and others trying to improve public education. Read our submission guidelines here.