Some of you reading this may be familiar with Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. If you aren’t, the show follows Jamie Oliver in his quest to bring healthy lunches to America’s public schools. Even if you haven’t seen it, I’m sure you are aware that school lunches aren’t necessarily the best for kids, albeit deemed sufficient and even “healthy” by school officials.
This issue is close to my heart. I have two boys, ages three and one. People tell me that before I know it, they will be starting public school. When my husband and I were deciding where to build our new home, school districts played a huge part in our decision. Did it matter that the district was rated as one of the best in our state? Not to me. I came from a public school that had its challenges. It wasn’t even close to being considered a top school in our area, let alone the state. I turned out okay. But I do remember dipping pizza and french fries in ranch dressing. And eating slop sloppy joes that were probably packed with pink slime. This brings me to why we (maybe a little more me) chose the school district that we did–their food. They actually have fresh food, prepared daily using organic products when possible. They use produce from local farmers to promote sustainability and they offer choices, including vegetarian, every day. Ahhh, it’s like Jamie’s and my dream.
But here is where I seem to differ from, say, the entire country. I would rather my children have good school lunches, rather than a good education. I’m clearly in the minority here. According to a recent American Pulse™ Survey, an overwhelming 94.3% of Adults 18+ say they would rather kids walk away from high school with a quality education than having ate well for all those years. But I think the two go hand-in-hand. A school district that offers its children lessons in health and wellbeing would certainly offer a strong academic structure. And even if I’m wrong, I can supplement their studies at home. When I was in primary school, my parents made sure I went to class and did my homework. And when I struggled, they were there.
Either way, there’s no guarantee that my children are going to grow up to be doctors or lawyers. We may find that they are good at building things or that they like to fix cars. These professions aren’t necessarily grounded in Anatomy, Trigonometry or French. And from what I hear, the job market isn’t great right now for business professionals. We may find that skilled trades are in even more demand in 15-20 years.
But my children’s health is of the utmost importance to me, even more so than what they decide to do to make “monies,” as my oldest would say. With more than one in five adults unhappy with their overall health, a change at the beginning of our children’s lives – at the school lunch table – might help improve this sad statistic in the long run.
And here is something that at least one-third of the country agrees with me on: 32.8% say that school lunches are somewhat/very unhealthy. Even more (58.2%) say lunch programs need to be fixed. 39.5% say it’s up to parents to fix it, followed by the U.S. Department of Education (36.7%) and their state’s education department (36.4%).
Only 9.3% say leave it up to The Naked Chef. @Jamie Oliver – if you’re reading this, I got your back.
For more information on this data, please contact BIGinsight™.
Source: American Pulse™ Survey, FEB-12 #2, N = 4185
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