Do School Children Eat Like Prisoners?

An info-graphic produced at Daily Infographic tackles the issue of school food and child nutrition. As our First Lady, Michelle Obama, is addressing the issue of childhood obesity and nutrition in her Let’s Move! project, our schools are failing abysmally to feed our children healthy, nutritious meals or even to provide them with the option.

Disturbing elements of school food: most children are provided less than one serving of fruit (and almost no vegetation), while overly-processed starches are par for the course. While prisoners are by no means being fed organic roughage, they are provided a half cup of vegetables and a full serving of fruit (verses no vegetables and 1/2 serving of fruit). Even more disturbing, fast food restaurants like McDonalds and Burger King actually test their meat products ten times more often than the FDA for pathogens, bacteria, and content levels. Fewer than 1/3 of schools meet Federal standards for saturated fat contents in their meals.

Is eating healthier more expensive? Of course (but not as much as you would think). However, a better diet is linked to fewer behavioral problems, lower levels of obesity, higher IQ, and lower rates of heart disease and cancer. In the long run, feeding our children a healthier diet is less expensive than the health issues that a poor diet learned in childhood will ultimately foster. One individual that is doing a lot to raise awareness of the quality of our school’s foods and healthy, inexpensive alternatives is Jamie Oliver – check out his Food Revolution webpage and sign his petition! You can view his Ted Talk on this topic here:

This Speech was the winner of the Ted Prize in 2010. Help Jamie to achieve the goals he has outlined in his Ted Prize.

5 thoughts on “Do School Children Eat Like Prisoners?

  1. lifecoachabby

    I totally agree. My husband and I know how important it is for our little boys to eat well. We spend more on food because we know that in the long run it is the best investment we can possibly make in our lives. I have posts about healthy kid lunches on my blog, so feel free to check it out. Great post.

    1. Jennifer Lockett Post author

      Thanks for the response. My school has no healthy food as the standard lunch fare. They have a ‘salad bar’ that has some fresh fruit and the veggies are generally canned or frozen. The cost is more than twice the cost of the ‘standard’ lunch (usually french fries, burgers, chicken fingers, etc).

  2. Jim Wheeler


    Bless you. This is a subject near and dear to my heart. I have grandchildren near us here in Joplin. One is a boy, a string bean genetically, but the other, a 9-year old girl, has a weight problem that is worrisome. We are all concerned about it, but so far her instincts have overwhelmed advice.

    The idea that jailbirds are getting a healthier diet than kids is shocking but not surprising. I have heard that some prisons have gardens tended by the inmates. Why can’t we have some school vegetable gardens? How’s that for an idea? Combine the education aspects of how to eat with how to grow and how to cook! Holy cow, could it work?

    Michelle Obama deserves HUGE credit for taking obesity on as a project because it is a matter of life and death, it is a big factor in skyrocketing healthcare costs (as Oliver says), and because it is so terribly difficult a problem. It is complex. The processed food industry and its brother, the fast food industry have so thoroughly infiltrated our culture that mere knowledge of cooking is not going to fix the problem. It is going to take some kind of culture change. But Oliver’s presentation and Michelle Obama’s campaign are good starts.

    I am also a huge fan of the TED lectures – Jamie Oliver’s was one I had not seen, and it was EXCELLENT, as have been all the others so far.

    FYI, I have offered posts similar to yours in the past, links below. (Great minds . . . 😀 )

    Thanks for this most worthy post, Jennifer. I am going to recommend it to Joplin’s school food services manager. Maybe it will inspire innovation as we rebuild our schools in the wake of the tornado.


    1. Jennifer Lockett Post author

      Thanks for the comments! I will be reading your posts a little later this evening (I’m off to a lecture in the Big D tonight – look for an updated blog post on it).

      Nutrition is a big deal right now with our country where more than half of adults are over-weight and children are pushing that boundary as well. The reality is that children with unhealthy diets become adults with unhealthy diets. Jamie Oliver is doing some great stuff (and his television show is addictive). I wish he would come here!

  3. Pingback: Do School Children Eat Like Prisoners? | Four Cow Farm

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