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Texas cameras to track school lunches

May 12, 2011 Comments off

guardian

FOOD ANALYSIS

Dr Roger Echon of the Social and Health Research Centre displays the digital food analysis equipment which will track chlidren’s eating habits at WW White elementary school in Texas. Photograph: Tom Reel/AP

The next time children in some elementary schools in the state of Texas try to sneak extra french fries on to their tray in the cafeteria queue, the eye in the sky will be watching them.

Using a $2m (£1.3m) grant from the US department of agriculture, the schools in San Antonio are installing sophisticated cameras in the cafeteria that read barcodes embedded in the food trays.

“We’re going to snap a picture of the food tray at the cashier and we will know what has been served,” said Dr Roberto Trevino of the Social and Health Research Centre in San Antonio, which is implementing the pilot programme at five schools with high rates of childhood obesity and children living in poverty.

“When the child goes back to the disposal window, we’re going to measure the leftover.”

The goal is to cut childhood obesity by providing parents and school nutrition specialists with information on what types of Read more…

School Thinks Moms Are Too Dumb to Make Kids’ Lunch

April 13, 2011 1 comment

cafemom.com

cafeteriaIt was only a matter of time really. Our kids come home from kindergarten telling us that we’re not as smart as the teacher. Now a Chicago school has told all parents they’re too dumb to craft a healthy enough lunch for their kids. They’ve enacted a school-wide ban on the homemade lunch.

The kids now have the option to buy lunch or … well buy lunch (unless they have a medical condition and a doctor’s note). And all this is in the name, of course, of making the students healthier. Let me be the first to say bull-pucky! If I can’t make healthy enough food for my child, pray tell me, why are you even letting me be her parent?

Are you going to take her shoe shopping too? How about finding an orthodontist? Paying for it? Yeah, that’s what I thought. I’m not responsible enough to take care of my kid … until it starts to inconvenience them.

Making all kids eat school lunch is easy for a school. There are no fights between the haves and the have nots. No separate lines for the “buyers” and the “carriers.” And the cafeteria has an almost exact count for food orders. No more wasted food. It’s perfect really — for the school.

But the news that a school building could be better able to meet an individual child’s needs is more than a little ironic considering schools are being called out more and more in recent months for painting kids with a broad brush rather than attempting to work with the individual. And what is a one-size-fits-all lunch program other than a washing away of a child’s individual needs?

Take, for example, the way we balance our kids’ food, meal to meal, snack to snack. It’s a process for most parents. We know that Little Johnny had Read more…