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Child Obesity Rates Ignored, Millburn, NJ School Profits $20K Selling Junk Food - Meredith Roth Proposes Millburn Board of Ed Adopt State's Child Nutrition Code

April 19, 2005 -- Ignoring New Jersey's and national child obesity figures, Millburn, NJ's Board of Education
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 refuses to hear proposal to adopt the NJ Department of Agriculture Child Nutrition Code. The code calls for eliminating candy, all food where sugar is the first ingredient, high-fat and transfat foods, as well as empty calorie foods during the school
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 day. This “junk food” could neither be sold nor given away to students. The state’s code encourages fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains and other healthy choices.

 “  Given the alarming numbers released by the state of NJ - 40% of sixth-graders overweight or obese - It is urgent that our schools make some creative and positive changes in Millbur...  
With fewer than 5% of Millburn's children requiring a free or subsidized lunch, the Millburn Board of Education
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 is not required to conform to the state’s nutrition code. The proposal before Superintendent Richard L. Brodow is to:
1- Voluntarily adopt the state's Child Nutrition Code
2- Provide parents permission slips in advance when food is part of an academic, enriching or cultural lesson plan.

Parent and anti-obesity advocate, Meredith Roth said, “Anything allowed into our schools should be healthy and a benefit to children. Given the alarming numbers released by the state of NJ - 40% of sixth-graders overweight or obese - It is urgent that our schools make some creative and positive changes in Millburn. Under our watch, we can do great things for the long-term health of our children. I propose the Millburn Board of Education adopt NJ's Child Nutrition Code.”

Fast Facts:
· Meredith Roth, a Millburn parent and anti-obesity advocate, organized a 4-week healthy lunch pilot with Whole Foods Market in the Fall. Approx 100 out of 300 students participated. All food was free of transfat, antibiotics, artificial coloring or flavors, synthetic hormones, nitrates, nitrites, etc. All bread and pasta were whole wheat. Each meal was accompanied with fresh fruit and vegetables. The majority of children liked the lunch, especially the organic turkey dogs served on a whole-wheat bun. The Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) conducted a survey that concluded children preferred junk food lunches instead - and that junk food is much cheaper than healthy.

· The most profitable lunch regularly served is a white bagel (cream cheese, butter or plain) and a side of Pringles. The most recent lunch served was a white bagel with a side of Rice Krispie Treat. Dessert is served with every PTO lunch.

· The principal deferred responsibility to the PTO. The PTO co-president said, "we aren't serving heroin" to the children. Superintendent Brodow requested two months to find out what food is being served in his five elementary schools. The NJ Dept of Education said it doesn't fall under their authority. The NJ Dept of Agriculture said it will not fall under their forthcoming amended Child Nutrition Code, which will essentially ban candy, sugar treats, high-fat and empty calorie food given away or sold to children during the school day.

· The school raises $20K of profit selling the junk food lunches. It's the school's number one fundraiser for the year.

· This generation of children is the first to be given a lesser life expectancy than their parents. This reduced life expectancy is due to obesity related health issues: diabetes, heart disease, cancer, etc.

· Meredith Roth's fight against junk food in schools and proposal for the Millburn Board of Ed to adopt the NJ Child Nutrition Code has been featured on Fox's “Your World with Neil Cavuto,” the NY Post, the NJ Star-Ledger, WABC Radio in NY, WCRN in Boston, among other media outlets.


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