Saturday April 8 2017
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Local School Districts Help Kids Fight Obesity

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Ohio high schools following new government guidelines to promote healthier eating

Salads, fruits and wraps are in.

Burgers, fried and sugary snacks are out.

As a result of First Lady Michelle Obama's healthy eating initiative geared toward fighting childhood obesity, many local schools have begun to make changes to their lunch menus.

Students at  East Palestine and Columbiana high schools now have new options available in the lunch lines. Their daily "a la carte" options include a specialty salad and sandwich, such as turkey club sandwiches on ciabatta bread and chicken wraps on pita bread, as part of a program developed over the summer to conform to the First Lady's initiative.

The “Choose 2 For a Healthier You” program allows students to choose one item each from the meat and vegetable food groups, as well as fruit and dairy options.

New legislation, specifically Senate Bill 210, places limitations on certain foods, such as allowing no more than one cup of starch to be served to individual students per week. At the same time, it restricts the individually priced food and beverage items for sale through a school breakfast or lunch program, school vending machines or school store.

“Our kids didn't do this to themselves,” said Mrs. Obama about the problem of childhood obestiy. “Our kids don't decide what's served to them at school.”

Many students have reacted well to the change, embracing what they see as an opportunity to eat healthier.

“It's nice to have the option to eat better,” said Melissa, a 16-year-old junior at East Palestine. “We eat enough fast food away from school so it's good to have a healthy choice at lunch.”

Inevitably, though, others are disappointed that French fries are no longer on the menu.

“Some kids are talking about boycotting the cafeteria,” Melissa said.

Starch options are still available, just less often and in smaller portions.

Columbiana School District recently presented their school board of education with a detailed report on the program and the items available to the students.

Administrators are behind the change, and students at both schools seem to be adjusting to the new options.