School lunch puts kids' health at risk

School lunch puts kids' health at risk

Two weeks ago, first lady Michelle Obama called on the U.S. Conference of Mayors to help her fight the national scourge of childhood obesity. She noted that one-third of all children are overweight or obese. She proposed healthier school lunch fares, increased physical activity and nutrition education.

Traditionally, the National School Lunch Program has served as a dumping ground for USDA's surplus meat and dairy commodities. Not surprisingly, USDA's own surveys indicate that 90 percent of American children consume excessive amounts of fat, and only 15 percent eat the recommended servings of fruits and vegetables. Their early dietary flaws become lifelong addictions, raising their risk of diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

In the past few years, several state legislatures have asked their schools to offer daily vegetarian options. According to the School Nutrition Association, 52 percent of U.S. school districts now do. Last fall, the Baltimore City Public School system became the first in the United States to offer its 80,000 students a complete weekly break from meat.

Parents and others who care about our children's health should demand healthful plant-based school meals, snacks and vending machine items. Additional information is available can be found at schoolnutrition.org, schoolmeals.nal.usda.gov, healthyschoollunches.org and choiceusa.net.

Ted Cantfield

Ashland

Don't forget about meeting on city pool

A reminder to those who are interested in discussing the future of Daniel Meyer Pool: There will be a meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 3, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Senior Center next to the Daniel Meyer pool.

Chris Honoré

Ashland

Vehicles need defense from remote control

A recent news brief showed how certain new vehicles include an electronic feature that enables police to stop the vehicle remotely. This feature is ostensibly intended to stop fleeing auto thieves. Of course, (notwithstanding its Big Brother implications), if law enforcement officials have the technology to stop your car, then savvy criminals do too, for their own nefarious purposes.

Given Toyota's recent difficulties, and considering stock market competitions, politics and how many auto components manufactured by rival nations, it gives pause to wonder if newer automobiles are adequately defended against electronic interference. It'd be awful to have someone remotely seize control of your vehicle and wreak havoc. Automobile electronics should be Faraday-caged.

Patti Morey

Ashland