Saint Ignatius Loyola Academy, an all boy’s middle school in downtown Baltimore, is fighting against obesity by serving healthy lunches to their students. Through Revolution Foods, a partner with Whole Foods Market, Saint Ignatius is able to provide whole wheat bread, fruits and vegetables to the students.

Child obesity has increased nearly 20 percent since 1980, with one out of three children being considered overweight or obese.

A population based study revealed that 70 percent of obese youth have at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Obese children are more likely to have pre-diabetes. They are at greater risk for bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, social and psychological problems and low self-esteem.

Shockingly, 40 percent of the calories the children consume are from school lunches. So the question is, “what types of food are being served to the students in school?”

Sydney Hill, a sixth grader at Franklin middle explains, “For lunch, we may have cheese steak, pizza, nachos, or a taco salad. Oh and on Fridays they serve funnel cake, that’s my favorite!” With Maryland being the 26th most obese state in the country, some would say it’s time to fight back.

Starting this school year Saint Ignatius has been serving nothing but fresh fruits and vegetables, and whole wheat bread products. Principle Teresa Scott said, “Initially the boys were a little hesitant to try the healthier foods, but once they did they loved it.” The milk that is offered to the students is high fructose corn syrup free. They don’t serve chocolate, strawberry or blueberry milk, just white milk. Scott also explains that most students don’t eat fruits like apples, oranges and pears at home, so they devour the fruits and vegetables because they realize how tasty they can be. Since the students have been eating the organic foods, Scott explains the boys are more attentive in class. “They are not bouncing off the walls from all the sugar they used to consume during lunch.”

All schools in Baltimore should serve healthier foods to their students, according to the St. Ignatius principal. With child obesity increasing every day, schools should consider serving their students healthier cuisine. Saint Ignatius only pays 17 cents more for the organic food than they had been paying for the unhealthy lunches. Since it’s the first year Saint Ignatius is using Revolution Foods, the students pay nothing, but Scott says when they begin paying for the lunch it will not be expensive.


Charlene Mayo

Special to the AFRO