HEALTHY SCHOOLS - OBESITY
WHEREAS, obesity rates in children ages 6-11 more than doubled between the late 1970s and 2000, rising from 6.5 percent to 15.3 percent; and
WHEREAS, obesity rates in adolescents more than tripled between the late 1970s and 2000, rising from 5.0 percent to 15.5 percent; and
WHEREAS, children with obesity are more likely to suffer from other ailments, including diabetes, sleep apnea, high blood pressure and mental health problems associated with low self-esteem; and
WHEREAS, hospitalizations among children and adolescents for diseases associated with obesity reached $127 million in 1999; and
WHEREAS, half of all children and adolescents who are overweight will become overweight adults; and
WHEREAS, unhealthy children miss more school days than healthy children, limiting their ability to learn; and
WHEREAS, schools are logical places for children to learn healthy eating and physical activity habits; and
WHEREAS, school districts that sell only healthy snacks and beverages in vending machines do not lose needed revenue; and
WHEREAS, the federal government predicts that obesity will soon overtake tobacco as the leading cause of preventable death:
RESOLVED, that the AFT work with school districts to promote healthy lifestyle habits of students and staff; and
RESOLVED, that the AFT aggressively promote physical education and physical activity programs in every public school; and
RESOLVED, that the AFT encourage school district nutritionists and school nurses to collaborate to determine the most healthy meal choices for schools; and
RESOLVED, that AFT work with its members to educate parents about the dangers of overweight children, both physically, emotionally, and academically; and
RESOLVED, that the AFT lobby for state legislation that ensures that the following minimum standards for food and beverages sold or served in school meals are enforced:
Each food item, excluding beverages, should meet the following standards:
- Not more than 35 percent of total calories derived from fat (excepting nuts and seeds).
- Not more than 10 percent of total calories derived from saturated fat.
- Not more than 35 percent of total weight composed of sugar (excepting fruits and vegetables).
- Only the following beverages, whether served with meals or in vending machines, would be allowed in schools:
- Milk, including chocolate milk, soy milk, rice milk and other similar dairy or nondairy milk.
- 100 percent fruit juice.
- Fruit-based beverages that contain at least 50 percent fruit juice and have no added sweeteners.
- Electrolyte replacement beverages that contain not more than 42 grams of added sweeteners per 20-ounce serving.