Study: Students consume 400 billion calories from junk food sold in schools

Retired military officers say kids too overweight to join armed forced

Mission: Readiness is a nonprofit, non-partisan group of retired military officers who are concerned that the food we’re feeding to children is rendering them too sickly and too overweight to be assemble competitive, competent armed forces. “Still To Fat To Fight” is a follow-up to the 2010 report, “Too Fat To Fight,” which illustrates the fact that, in the last two years, things have not gotten better.

Here are just some of the findings in the report:

  • 1 in 4 American students is just too overweight to join the military
  • The Department of Defense spends over $1 billion of taxpayer money on “weight-related diseases” annually.
  • American students consume almost 400 billion calories from junk food sold in their schools alone each year. That doesn’t account for snacking at home, or food purchased at convenience stores.
  • Junk food calories served in schools to students equal more than the weight of an aircraft carrier.

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
vote buttons pins

On every other Thursday of our four-week cycle menu, we allow K-8 students to pick the entree choices. The media center specialist for each of the participating schools sets up the list of entree items on a computer for voting, and the winning entrees are given to cafeteria managers two weeks before the upcoming month to put into production. Students really like this, as it promotes ownership of the menu.

Ideas and Innovation
chalkboard

We highlight our North Carolina products on a large chalkboard in our dining halls, and also list any produce we bring in from our own agroecology farm. It helps tell our story—positive and local.

Ideas and Innovation
raised garden beds

We have raised garden beds that residents can reserve and use to grow their own plants. Whenever a resident brings me fresh produce from their own garden, I try and incorporate it into a dish. If I do end up using it, I will display the resident’s name and what the produce was next to the dish on the menu.

Ideas and Innovation
chartwells teaching kids

Curriculum for the mobile teaching kitchen centers around a single kid-friendly recipe, using ingredients that can provide talking points for nutrition, sustainability and food origins. “The recipe is the lesson,” Saidel says. “Every ingredient is an opportunity to talk.”

Earlier this year, Saidel, Perkins and Harvey did a student demo featuring roasted chicken and white bean tacos with greens and citrus salsa. “We can say, ‘Why are we using chicken instead of beef? Why are there some beans in here?’ You can talk about plant proteins and the sustainability and health message around...

FSD Resources