To the Editor:
Since school is a large part of every child’s life, it’s essential that students be offered healthy options for school meals (“Effects of Schools’ Push for Healthy Eating Unclear,” Oct. 18, 2006). These options also might provide a model for students of what other meals of the day should look like.
Although efforts to lessen obesity through school programs are seen by some as having failed, students are, as your article notes, making healthier food and exercise choices. This is not failure.
Efforts to promote a healthy lifestyle should not be neglected because they aren’t creating the expected results. They may be having more of an impact on children than is recognized, and their larger effects might be felt years later. Children often are not concerned about obesity, and three years—the length of one study you cite—is not long enough to see a noticeable impact on weight. But children will remember and use, as they grow into adults, the habits they are taught.
Although it is true that schools alone cannot fight this battle, it is important that they not stop fighting until more of society is ready to join in.
A version of this article appeared in the November 29, 2006 edition of Education Week as Impact of Healthy-Eating Programs May Be Delayed