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Schools Can Help Solve Childhood Obesity

 

Alan Wolnek, Special to the Miami Herald
May 31, 2012

Schools Can Help Solve Childhood Obesity

 

Deerfield Beach, FLA - We constantly are being reminded about the startling statistics and long-term effects of childhood obesity. As a childcare professional, I have seen firsthand the value and direct link between proper nutrition and academics in our children.

Recent data show that almost two-thirds of low-income Florida families can’t afford to give their children a healthy meal. Many children return home to find empty pantries; others rely on eating unhealthy meals, high in fat and calories.

Schools, in particular, must be a national focal point for obesity prevention. Children spend most of their day at school and consume half of their daily calories there.

Schools are on a shoestring budget. However, many don’t know that there is funding that will allow them to serve additional healthy meals to students. This lets them play a bigger role in the fight against obesity.

As the founder of After School Programs Inc, (ASP) in Florida, we have initiated the Free Healthy Supper Program, one of the first programs in the state of Florida to provide children hot nutritious dinners at school, five nights a week. We currently serve dinners at more than a dozen Broward and Miami-Dade schools. The funding is provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and administered by the Florida Department of Health.

This is one systematic approach that will pay off, and I encourage schools to initiate a program of their own or work with a provider that can assist in the funding process.

Alan Wolnek
Founder and CEO
After School Programs, Inc.,

 
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