Nutrition in schools reached an all time low in the 1990’s in America. School administrators and government officials were asleep at the wheel. Well, hopefully they were asleep at the wheel. Because the only other possibility is that they were so greedy for the corporate fast food and junk food dollars pouring into their institutions to care about the damage being done to the Nation’s students in the form of obesity, type 2 diabetes and students being overweight. In any case, money was flowing in, obesity was outof control and no healthy fundraising solutions were being sought. In the 1990’s and early in the 21st century, it was an absolutely insane situation in America’s schools. Corporate fast food and candy giants would sign lucrative contracts with school districts, wherein they would not only market their unhealthy food to students, but limit competition and eliminate direct competition, in the process. This was a unique and sad period in American education. Anyone who went to school in this country in the 1970’s and early 1980’s knows this wasn’t the case then. It was impossible to get candy or other fast food on campus. You would either eat in the cafeteria or bring your lunch. There were no candy filled vending machines. As far as cafeteria meals, they were prepared according to USDA guidelines. All of that changed in the 1990’s. Surely this situation played a part in the soaring, out of control obesity rates in this country. Concurrently in the 1990’s, U.S. Adults began consuming fast food and candy on a daily basis, rather than the occasional treat it had traditionally been. This has had a terrible effect on the health of this country. Because of bad nutrition habits, obesity, overweight and type 2 diabetes rates have never been higher. Profits soared while thoughts of nutrition and healthy fundraising solutions plummeted. Thankfully in the 21st century, some of this has begun to change. The USDA has issued the -HealthierUS School Challenge.- This is a program wherein schools agree to comply with basic nutrition regulations and are certified as -Team Nutrition- Schools. Once certified, they receiving funding and periodic reviews to check for compliance. The re-certification is contingent on maintaining a fast food free campus and searching for healthy fundraising solutions. Additionally, schools that sign on to programs like these gain respect and stature in the educational community as pioneers in promoting better health and nutrition in America. Obviously this alone will not solve the problem. There is no stronger force in advertising than the fast food, candy and soda industry. But with educators and the USDA getting involved, a difference is being made. You can do your part by speaking up for nutrition, education and healthy fundraising solutions.
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