Tackling the pounds—Changes in state policy fight student obesity

EL PASO — Not too many years ago, students eagerly awaited the bell that signals lunchtime, anticipating french fries, a can of Pepsi, and a chocolate chip cookie. Now, however, those same students have been challenged to abandon some of the junk foods they crave. In 2007, revisions were made to the Texas Public School Nutrition Policy to create a weapon to battle obesity in children. Texas public high schools have had to start abiding by laws that mandate healthier lunch foods, as well as changing vending machine products on their campuses. “Our snack bars are all run by the district cafeterias and have to abide by the changes in the law,” says Dr. Carla Gonzales, Chapin High School Principal.

Childhood obesity in El Paso on the rise

EL PASO — At nine years of age and 100 pounds, Jorge can’t wait for the lunch bell to ring. He walks straight to the vending machine, like he does every day, to buy a large bag of chips and a soda. For Jorge, his school’s cafeteria food is not tasty enough and the lunch his mother packed for him is long gone. He is starving, despite having eaten breakfast and lunch a few hours ago. Jorge’s eating behavior is similar to other children in El Paso and across the U.S., and is becoming more prevalent as childhood obesity rates continue to rise.