Why students are saying #ThanksMichelleObama

Kathleen Phohl

Pic 1

As eating healthy becomes a concern for schools around the United States, healthier
meals are made a top priority in order to decrease obesity rates. MCT Campus


As many politicians and activists
continue to bombard President Barack
Obama for his decisions, actions and
executive orders, students around the
nation are focusing on another Obama,
First Lady Michelle Obama, by way of
social media’s most popular symbol, a
The hashtag “#ThanksMichelleObama”
popped up in mid-November
as many children sarcastically used the
hashtag accompanied by pictures of
horrifying, or nearly nonexistent, everyday
school lunches. Ever since Michelle
Obama’s creation of the “Let’s
Move” program in 2010, a campaign
established in an attempt to decrease
and end obesity in children across the
United States, the First Lady has become
a national symbol for healthy
eating. Unfortunately, due to this
newfound symbolism, Mrs. Obama is
being blamed for many schools’ illfounded
attempts to switch to healthier
school lunches.
Although a healthier lunch for students
nationwide was the right step
towards ending childhood obesity, the
execution in many cases was far from
aiding this goal. While many of the
pictures under this hashtag illustrated
questionable meals, others depicted
scanty amounts of food, an apple here
and maybe three chicken nuggets
there. The lack of a stable diet presented
within these photos, although these
photographs are not proven 100% true,
pose new questions for this nationwide
health-kick, the most vital being, are
we supporting undernourishment in order
to be a nation full of smaller pants
On the other end of the spectrum
the lunch debate also raises questions
about the unhealthy meals that are being
served in schools. As over 30 million
children depend on The National
School Lunch Program, a federal system
that serves lunches to public and
nonprofit private schools, these meals
should be a constant concern for parents.
According to the U.S. Department
of Agriculture, typical school lunches
surpass the suggested 500 milligrams
of sodium per meal and less than a
third of schools stay below the suggested
fat content per meal.
According to Lindenhurst Health
& Fitness Center, only 6% of school
lunch programs meet the USDA’s nutritional
requirements. With facts like
these, sizing down sodium and caloric
intake does not sound like a bad idea
considering many of these instant decisions
can lead to permanent health
issues that accompany obesity and diabetes.
At Hanover, while some students
may detest the lunches, a number of
students feel as though they are not as
bad as they’re made out to be.
“The lunches are great. I’m from
Norfolk and compared to there we
didn’t even have an option. It was like
‘this is what we have today, you either
get this or nothing at all.’ They also
started to make you pay if you wanted
extra things like ketchup, so compared
to that it’s way better here,” sophomore
transfer Aniya Woodson said.
Although many may debate over
the credibility of the “mystery meat”
that has been made famous in schools
throughout each state, swapping the
meat for a healthy salad may not be as
easy as school administrators and lunch
men and ladies may think, considering
they are serving the stereotypical hungry
“You have an option not all people
are going to eat healthy. I don’t think
it’s over all unhealthy it’s a normal balance
but you can’t force people to eat
healthy,” Woodson said.
With a consistent rate of obesity,
perhaps a few salads and fruit trays
slipped into school lunches could serve
the next generations well as many attempt
to shed pounds and gain healthy

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