Why Food Deserts Are a Threat to America’s Children

Edited to add:

Some of the poorest students in the United States live in food deserts.which are parts of the country lacking easy access to fresh fruit, vegetables and other healthful whole foods. These food deserts are a threat to health, safety and receiving a quality education.

Posted by Natalie Morin

U.S. Department of Agriculture / Flickr Commons

Now that the new school year is in full swing, many parents are back to the familiar ritual of preparing lunch for their children. But of the 50 million children who recently went back to school, 20 million are eligible for free lunch. These are children who live in poverty and rely on government assistance programs to provide them with healthy, balanced meals.

The National School Lunch Program, as well as the School Breakfast Program, have grown quickly over the past few decades and have benefited millions of children across the nation.

Using the most recent 2011 data from the Health Indicators Warehouse (HIW), HealthGrove mapped the percentage of public school students who are eligible for free lunch in The United States.

Three years ago, the USDA updated its school lunch regulations to include more fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Depending on the grade level, students were required to receive 2.5-5 cups of fruit, 3.75-5 cups of vegetables, 8-12 ounces of grains, 8-12 ounces of meat or meat alternates, and 5 cups of milk per week. This would amount to about 550-650 calories a day for grades K-5, 600-700 for grades 6-8 and 750-850 for high schoolers. But healthy food is expensive. In fact, this year’s School Nutrition Trends Report found that 69 percent of the districts it surveyed reported that these rules have harmed their meal programs.

Though these sodium and fat-fighting regulations are a financial strain on school districts, they are critical to promoting healthy lifestyles in children. If taught early in life, balanced eating habits can influence long-term behaviors and decisions. One look at HealthGrove’s map of Type 2 Diabetes prevalence shows the dangerous result of poor nutrition (among other factors).

If the free lunch program regulations are making an effort to give students healthier options, why are the same parts of the country that see a prevalence of students receiving free lunch still seeing high diabetes rates?

This seems to highlight the fact that though students’ nutrition is cared for in school, finding a way to keep that balance in their meals outside of school is not as easy. Parents may live in “food deserts,” meaning they don’t have access to healthy produce, or if they do, they may not be able to afford it.

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Review What Happened In My World This Week

Sunday Week in Review Graphic

This has been a busy week. A lot has happened in your world and in mine. Some people find serenity one day per week by taking time to review the news they have missed during the course of the week.If you are one of those people, this is the place for you! Here are the things we covered in Janeane’sWorld this week. After you check out what has been going on in our world, go to the comments and share something exciting that has happened in your world.

No More Stress Urinary Incontinence Fears

poise SUI www.janeanesworld.comPoise Impressa Bladder Supports are an awesome way to laugh, cough, dance sneeze or exercise without fear of stress urinary incontinence. For most people, the best days are full of fun, laughter and dancing. Unfortunately for some, this may cause bladder leakage. I say unfortunately because when you cough, laugh or dance and start to leak it may lead to embarrassment, discomfort and lack of desire to be around others. Life should not be this way. You should be able to enjoy all that life has to offer without fear that having a fun time or working out will lead to embarrassment and discomfort. Click here to read more.


These Alumni See the Biggest Gender Pay Gaps

gender pay gap www.janeanesworld.com

The national gender pay gap is currently one of the most talked about issues in American politics. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women who work full-time earn about 82 percent of what men make. Click here to read more.




These Colleges Are Paying Their Basketball Players The Most Money

basketball salaries www.janeanesworld.comEarlier this year, the NCAA decided that for the first time ever, schools could give its student-athletes a cost of attendance (COA) stipend for the 2015-16 school year to help them pay for expenses beyond the typical costs (tuition, room, board, books) covered by their athletic scholarships. It was a huge step forward for NCAA athletes, many of whom struggle to make ends meet while colleges profit off their hard work. Click here to read more.



The Sandwich Havens of America

sandwich haves in the us www.janeanesworld.comMaking the perfect sandwich is an art. Getting the right cheese to meat ratio, as well as picking out the perfect sauces to add that extra je ne sais quoi takes time and practice. The stress of getting all the parts just right is enough that many prefer to have a sandwich made for them. Click here to read more.



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Ask a Mom or a Teammate How to Balance it All

when you need help, ask www.janeanesworld.com



It is possible to achieve work life balance and if you need help to get it done, ask another mom. Working moms often walk a fine line like a tightrope. It is not always easy to balance the demands of home and work. After all, there are only 24 hours in each day and an 8 hour work day, the need to sleep for 8 hours per night and a desire to spend quantity, not just quality time with family makes balancing it all very hard to do.

When you need help getting it all done, reach out and ask for advice.

We all have a friend who appears to have the balancing act on lockdown. These are women with great jobs, handsome husbands, well-behaved intelligent children and actual social lives. Some people look at those women with hate or envy. The haters whisper that the balance is all an illusion. The haters are sure that behind closed doors, those who look like they have it all are actually miserable, depressed control freaks on the brink of suicide. I see things differently.

I see that woman as someone who has something to teach me. I see a woman who has an idea of what it means to work smart instead of just working hard. If that woman can tell me how to get my kids to behave in the market and not drive me crazy while I shop, I want to learn. If she can tell me how to work all day and organize my life so that I can spend time with my husband and kids each day without feeling the need to rush off to do something else, I am all ears. If that woman wins the gold prize and is able to get more than four hours of sleep each night, I am willing to buy her a cup of coffee to learn some lessons from her.

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