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Fewer School Cooks, More Student Pounds

October 26, 2010 | Hunter College, Newsmakers

Sharp budget cuts to the National School Lunch Program in the 1980s contributed to our current epidemic of overweight and obese children, according to Hunter College sociologist Janet Poppendieck. “They cut labor and replaced school cooks with bulk convenience foods — the precooked, defrost and reheat pizzas and chicken nuggets,” says Poppendieck, author of “Free For All: Fixing School Food in America,” adding that unhealthy food choices were part of the wider culture, as well. “In the 80s, people saw taking their kids to fast food restaurants as a treat and increasingly these were the foods that young people wanted.”
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