Do federal nutrition mandates leave too many of our students hungry?

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.

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9 years ago

Great article. My son is literally gone to school at 6:30 and comes home at maybe 7-9pm. We do pack him a lunch, and its a big bag, but if there was some healthy and affordable food conducive to playing sports after eating, boy that would be great.

9 years ago

If you think school lunches are expensive and now, wait until they’re “free”.

Rest assured, however, the federal government has healthcare all figured out.

Mom of Two
9 years ago

Question: Why can’t students bring an extra cooler bag packed with food to school with them? That’s what I used to do in high school. I had my enormous backpack and the cooler bag that had after school snacks, PB&Js, etc. Sure, it was a bit cumbersome, but not a huge deal. I just kept it in my locker for the day.

9 years ago

I think an after school program of some type is what the high schoolers need–I would be interested in being on a committee to address the issue and to get a program in place.

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