Christian County Public Schools ban brought-in fast food as part of an effort to battle childhood obesity, a big problem in Ky.

Fast food is no longer a lunch option for students in Christian County Public Schools, Margarita Cambest reports for Kentucky New Era after the Board of Education voted to ban “commercially prepared, restaurant meals” Tuesday. Parents have been bringing fast-food meals to schools, even though 14 schools offer free meals under a federal program.

“Prepared
foods must now be put in a non-identifiable container to pass the
cafeteria doors—essentially meaning no logos,” Cambest reports. “Takeout containers and
bags must be discarded, and the food placed in a lunch box or brown bag
if brought from home. Soda is out as well. The consumption of bottled or canned carbonated beverages during meal times is also forbidden.”

Sandra McIntosh, the system’s food-service director, “said the decision allows her to enforce a federal mandate that has been questioned by some local principals,” Cambest reports. But then she notes that the federal school-lunch program “leaves the authority to control the sale of foods
in direct competition with the national program with state and local
agencies, according to the United States Department of Agriculture,” which runs the program.

Changes in the program, which McIntosh said have made meals “more nutritional” by having “lower fat, more whole-grain and more dark green and red vegetables, have been unpopular with many students and parents.

study by USDA’s Economic Research Service in 2005 showed that “Students in schools that offered greater quantities of fruits and vegetables consumed more of these foods by most measures.” And fast food has more calories. Research at the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity says on days that children eat fast food, they consume 126 additional calories and teens consume 310 more calories. The center says 33 percent of children and 41 percent of teens consume fast food daily.

Kentucky children rank third worst among the states for in obesity, with 37.1 percent of them considered either overweight or obese, according to the Child Policy Research Center.
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