As a society, many of us are concerned about childhood obesity rates. The federal government has put in place mandates that are meant to help ensure schools provide appropriate nutrition to students. According to Southborough School Committee member Kathleen Harrigan, the mandate has backfired.
The district’s Health and Wellness Advisory Committee gave an update to the combined Northborough Southborough School Committees on September 18. Harrigan addressed them with her concerns.
She has been a strong proponent for healthy lunches and believes the mandates are well intentioned. But she is frustrated by the size restrictions.
She shared her personal account of how it has impacted her family.
She has two active and growing teenage boys. Their backpacks are too overloaded for her to pack them large lunches. So she spends $15/day to buy them double lunches.
Meanwhile, with after school activities, they are gone from 6:30 am to about 6:00/7:00 pm. The school store was eliminated. So there isn’t anything else for them to eat at school before practice. They come home starving.
She asked what can they do to address this problem while staying within Federal mandates.
Superintendent Gobron agreed with her concern. He said students are not going to do well in school if they’re hungry.
He promised to put it on the agenda for the Health and Wellness Advisory Committee to address this year.
Harrigan hopes for more than that. She noted that local legislators sometimes watch the televised committee meetings. She hopes that some of our legislators will try to influence federal regulations.