Last week the Edmond Sun and Oklahoman published a story about Edmond Public Schools taking a significant step towards improving the health of their school children by providing healthier lunch options. This comes on the heels of the U.S. Senate passing the $4.5 billion "Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act" this past Thursday, which expands children's access to federal nutrition programs and will improve the nutritional quality of school lunches. The legislation marks the largest investment in child nutrition programs since their inception.
Oklahoma is facing a serious health crisis affecting our most important assets – our children. Every year the children in our state are becoming increasingly overweight because of decreased physical activity and poor nutrition. And, sadly, as troubling as this is for our children’s current health, this is just the beginning of a possible lifetime of poor health and complications from being overweight and obese.
Overweight and Obesity are leading risk factors for cardiovascular diseases, and every year more children are diagnosed with Type II or “adult onset” diabetes, something relatively unheard of just a few years ago. Cardiovascular diseases will cost Americans nearly $352 billion this year, and almost $100 billion of that is the result of obesity.
We must make the choice to invest in the future of our children and their health, rather than let them slip into a life of lethargy and poor health. My hope is that all schools follow the example of Edmond and takes steps to provide healthier food for their children.