Last night, ABC did a sneak peek of celebrity chef, Jamie Oliver’s new show “Food Revolution.” The show follows Jamie Oliver in Huntington, West Virginia (home of Marshall University) with the goal of transforming the unhealthiest town, the fattest town in America. This town was declared by the Center for Disease Control in 2008 as the unhealthiest town due to nearly 1/2 of the adults being obese, and the incidence of heart disease and diabetes were among the highest in the nation.
One of Jamie’s main goals, is to make school lunches healthier for the children. Why is this important? There is evidence that most children in America will live a shorter life than their parents due to their eating habits. The kids at Huntington’s elementary school were served pizza for breakfast, processed and frozen foods for lunch, and when they were served small amounts of fruit/veggies, they didn’t eat it, and only drank chocolate and strawberry milk instead of 1% or skim.
How does this show relate to Chicago?
Sure Chicago is not titled the “Unhealthiest in America”, but are we one of the healthiest? NO! According to the Kaiser Foundation, 35% of children in IL aged 10-17 are obese while 62% of adults, 18 years and older, are obese.
How about the school lunches in Chicago?
According to an article in the Chicago Tribune, “in Chicago elementary schools, nachos are second only to cheese pizza in meals served, despite being offered only half as often. In high schools, nachos are also No. 2, just behind chicken patty sandwiches. The district recently switched to whole-grain fried chips for its nachos and added chicken to the ground meat, but eating the nachos still means taking in 471 calories, 25.3 grams of fat and 1,104 milligrams of sodium. Add the tater tots, chocolate milk and an apple common on school lunch trays, and the total reaches about 923 calories, 37 grams of fat and 1,470 milligrams of sodium. Each figure is about half or more of the daily allowance recommended in federal dietary guidelines for moderately active children ages 9 to 13.”
The city is taking strides to improve school lunch programs, however that costs money. So will Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution spread to Chicago? The show, probably not, but can we take the important concepts, learn from Huntington, West Virgina, and improve the health of our city? YES!
How can we get involved in a Food Revolution for Chicago?
- Strive to eat fresh, wholesome food
- Believe that every child deserves to eat fresh, nutritious school lunches
- Create awareness for healthy eating
- Moderation! You don’t have to be anti-pizza or anti-burger just eat them in moderation!
- Think about what you are eating, what is actually in the food we eat, chemicals, added fat or salt?
- Remember~A little effort can make a massive difference!
- Start a seed of change in schools, the restaurant industry and more to improve the health of Chicagoans!
- Have a voice. Ask questions, & make suggestions to your local schools, restaurants and more.