• Wed, Sep 26 2012

‘Hungry’ Students Pissed At Michelle Obama Over Low-Calorie Lunches

If high school students were allowed to vote, they probably wouldn’t be leaning towards President Obama right now because they are pissed at his wife. As part of her “Let’s Move” campaign aimed at getting kids healthier, Michelle Obama has supported a new plan that limits school lunches to 850 calories for high school students–an amount that is clearly not enough if you ask them. So a group of teens are protesting that decision in a video that is going viral.

The video is entitled “We are hungry” (taken from the popular song “We are Young”) and written and performed by students and teachers from a Kansas high school who don’t think the calorie-restricted lunches are enough. Sure the new policy aims to wipe out some of the junk and processed foods from school lunches while also providing unlimited amounts of fruits and vegetables, but if you ask these teens, that doesn’t leave them feeling full and satisfied–especially the ones who play sports.

Brenda Kirkham, an employee at the Wallace County High School where the video was filmed told the Wichita Eagle that we are doing our kids a disservice here:

Think of a high-school boy who works out at least three hours a day, not including farm work. I’m furious.

Anyone who has a growing teen can definitely relate. We all know how much they eat. And while the move to reduce childhood obesity is to be applauded, limiting lunches to 850 calories does not seem to be nearly enough for active teenagers, especially given the fact that KidsHealth.org says active teens require 2,000 to 5,000 calories per day to adequately meet their growth and energy needs. Maybe the answer lies in providing healthier, yet more substantial types of foods without limiting calories–things like turkey and cheese sandwiches on whole wheat bread, healthy pastas, yogurt, bananas, chicken burritos with avocado and veggies, etc. Let’s focus on providing foods that fill them up while providing nutrition and long-lasting energy.

Take a look at the video that’s gone viral and let us know what you think:

 

Photo: theblaze.com

 

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  • Leah

    Of course I know that childhood obesity has a problem, but I know I would have been ANGRY if someone had limited the size of my lunch back when I was in high school. I often had swim practice before school and after and important meets, and that was at an age when I could (and did) eat soooo much and remain very thin. Yes, there are kids who are overeating, but it isn’t fair to restrict the calories of very active kids with fast metabolisms.

  • Cheryl

    850 calories for lunch should be a sufficient portion size, especially when you consider this line: “while also providing unlimited amounts of fruits and vegetables.”
    Obviously, no one wants kids going hungry at school, especially those in poverty. But think about what meal fare you could have to make 850 calories (2 burgers?) and then add on a free salad, apple, etc and I think it would be pretty filling. It’s a matter of whether the kids are willing to choose the healthy options to add on, I would think.

  • Matthew

    I think this is a testament to the fact that we need more nutrition education that teaches children the importance of the food choices they make and how they can work for or against them in their health and fitness goals.

    It seems to me that approaching nutrition by grouping large segments of the population (kids, for instance) is misguided and can detrimental to their health. Not everyone is as inactive as those that certain “healthy” policy initiatives are geared towards and if we dismiss the nutritional needs of active individuals, they will more than likely result to calorically dense, nutrient deficient junk as the video clearly demonstrates.

  • K. Hungry. D.

    Unlimited fruits and vegetables is bull at some schools, they don’t allow you to have the fruits, you get the goverment requirement and then you go back for more after your meal, just so that you dont faint at football / volleyball practice, and they tell you this (quote): “No sweetie, you get what is on your tray, now get back to class.” “Don’t take that fruit, we still have people to feed (line was empty…).” So, based on “active teens need 2,000 – 5,000 calories a day to get their calorie needs”, and that students are getting under 850 calories for lunch, I decided to do a tiny bit of research on my own. Let’s say I need 3,500 calories as an active teenager. My breakfast of cereal and milk ( an average breakfast for a kid, wouldn’t you say? ), contains about 300 calories. Lunch? 700 calories. So we’re at 1000 calories. Football practice comes, and I’m pretty hungry. Having recieved only 1000 calories, it doesnt take me that long ( due to my combined high-metabolism of a teenager, and hard work from practice) to burn all of it off, and leave me depleted by the end of practice conditioning. I come home then, to feast upon anything in the fridge, pantry, or anything that even looks remotely edible. So then I get the 2,500 calories I needed during the day, but now I don’t feel good due to overeating in one meal. Stuffing your stomach can cause holes to be punctured, your stomach to be stretched, and other harmful effects. Seems sad, doesn’t it? Also, just as an afternote, check out the book wheat belly. Whole wheat isn’t as healthy as you might think….

  • Michele

    Take 10 minutes away from your video games and Twitter chats on a Sunday evening to make five sandwiches and salads for the week and quit whining. In the time it took to create that video, these kids could have gone grocery shopping, cooked, and frozen enough meals for a month!

  • Val

    Well…We live in a big city neighborhood where poverty is the norm. I would guess that about 95 percent of the school children here qualify for and participate in the federal free or reduced price school lunch program, and I would venture to guess that for some of them that free lunch is the most reliable meal of the day. We started at the neighborhood high school when my daughter was a junior. On day one, my (normal weight) daughter came home appaled and horrified at the lunch provided at the school. And she continued to complain all year as the students were not allowed to bring food into the school building. As my daughter did not have any special dietary requirements, there was absoutely nothing I could do about it. On most days (4 out of 5) the meals she described to me certainly had to be under 850 calories, and basically a mish-mash of ingredients that you might expect at a forgotten, underfunded neigborhood school. (think soy burger cut in half on a hot dog bun with shredded processed cheese food and a piece of lettuce). She got by on a piece of fruit and tru-moo; on some days just one or the other as quantities were very limited and they often ran out of food before each child was served. The first person she blamed was Mrs. Obama. I say all this to say that it is not as easy as packing your own lunch or make better choices. It’s just not that way for everybody. I think that this “Let’s Move” initiative may not be completely thought out. Oh, and even the kids who pay full price for lunch get the same menu; there are no options. I can not say that this approach to childhood obesity is fair or helpful.

  • Jeff (Long Beach, CA)

    It’s as if Americans who have a high metabolism don’t have a say in anything anymore. I hate Michelle Obama for this, and I hate all the fat politicians with their slow metabolisms who think that “one size fits all” lunches of <850 Calories are a good thing.

  • Jeff (Long Beach, CA)

    During recruit training in the US Marine Corps, Marine recruits who are overweight are tagged as requiring a Calorie-restricted diet at mealtimes while Marine recruits who are underweight are tagged as requiring double rations or double por
    tions at mealtimes. In my case when I was in recruit training, I was so morbidly underweight that I was forced to eat triple rations at mealtimes (~4,000 Calories per meal, and 12,000 Calories per day). Each recruit “pays” the same amount of money no matter how much or how little food they receive; it’s actually a system called BAS and it’s not that the recruits really pay for meals, it’s more that they don’t receive BAS money at alll. Anyways, this system, it works.

    Of course, if this system were to be used at American schools, where every student pays the same amount of money for school meals, but overweight students receive less food while underweight students receive more food, there would be protests.

    Who would be protesting?
    Fat Americans would be protesting.
    Yet it’s still a better system than Michelle Obama’s “one size fits all” approach to meals.

  • TwinsWithCFMom

    I have twins with cystic fibrosis and weight loss is a very big medical issue. Having CF is a major ordeal trying to keep the weight up to include extra calories, nutritional suppliments, and gtube placements. The “extra calories” that they gain at school is a must in order to have healthier lungs, and vital organs. To me, this plan is going against my boys CF doctors plan. Mrs. Obama, not all children need to loose weight and think about the children who can’t gain weight to save their life! like mine. I’m saddened to hear that there is a no happy medium here for both medical issues for children of being underweight and overweight. It’s one way or the highway. I do have to feed my twins 8 times a day just to maintain being on the lower end of the weight, bmi, scale. Just my two cents.