What's for Lunch Today? Often, It's Too Much Junk Food.

(By Alexandre Meneghini -- Associated Press)
Tuesday, November 11, 2008

It's not only in the United States that the food kids eat at school has been associated with obesity. Earlier this fall, Greenpeace activists, including the costumed figure above, paraded in front of Mexico's education headquarters to protest the sale of junk food in public schools. In the past decade, the number of overweight children in Mexico has risen by 8 percent, contributing to the obesity epidemic in a country where nearly half of its 110 million people are already considered too heavy.

It seems like common sense to offer kids healthy alternatives, but with the global rise in food costs, that goal is becoming more difficult to implement. The stagnant economy is forcing some U.S. school districts to reevaluate their lunch programs, with some raising prices and offering fewer meal choices, according to the School Nutrition Association.

That said, a couple of local counties are doing pretty well. According to a report published this fall by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, Fairfax County and Montgomery County public schools are standouts, offering students vegetarian options, fruits, veggies and other healthful foods.

-- Kathleen Hom

© 2008 The Washington Post Company