SOURCE: Vision Media

September 09, 2008 03:40 ET

Current Health News Articles Reveal Worldwide Obesity Epidemic Affecting Children -- Examines School Meals in Our Society and Culture

PASADENA, CA--(Marketwire - September 9, 2008) - Current health news articles indicate that the worldwide obesity epidemic is affecting our children. In Western society and culture, a third or more of our children's meals are school meals. Now that summer is nearly over and it's time for children to go back school, concerned parents are thinking of those school meals and their effect on children's health. In an exclusive interview with Vision, Prue Leith, chair of the United Kingdom's The School Food Trust and proponent of healthy school meals, discusses current health news articles on the obesity epidemic. "The scale of the problem is really scary. We now have 35 percent of obese children." But she adds, "I think this is perfectly fixable."

Leith gives practical tips and ideas for helping fix the obesity problem. She details a dramatic success story from Finland, where the 35 percent obesity rate was similar to that of the United Kingdom and the United States as reported in current health news articles. Heavy, calorie-laden foods were part of Finland's society and culture, but fifteen years after implementing major changes in the school meal system, Finland's obesity rate has plummeted to two percent.

She applauds Finland's educational approach, wherein each school meal relates to a lesson in international society and culture. "What is being eaten in the dining room is what's been going on in the classroom." In addition, the children are "involved in serving and cleaning up. They all work for a week in the kitchen so they get to know the process."

Leith encourages parents to start teaching their children about nutrition at an early age. "We do know that the habits of eating are formed very, very young… It would be much easier… if… parents fed them the right things from four months old."

The influence of parents is imperative, but in our society and culture, teachers also play an important role. Leith continues, "Little children… want to please their teachers; they want to please their parents. So if the parents and teachers will encourage them to eat good food they will do it."

"You do not want children to die at an earlier age than you're going to die. You don't want them to be handicapped because they haven't done well in school and you want them to have a happy life. And frankly, obese children do not have a happy life."

In Western society and culture, school meals are an important factor in our children's current health. News articles on the subject and an exclusive interview with Prue Leith are part of a special report from Vision titled "Children's Health and Nutrition," found at

About Vision: is an online magazine with quarterly print issues that feature in-depth coverage of current social issues, religion and the Bible, history, family relationship topics and insights into philosophical, moral and ethical issues in society today. For a free subscription to the Vision quarterly magazine, visit their web site at

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