How To Improve School Lunches, Grades, And Behavior At No Extra Cost | Jill Shah on The Doctor’s Farmacy with Mark Hyman

Check out The Doctor’s Farmacy Podcast Page & Episode Notes

Key Takeaways

  • Alarming statistics in the US:
    • 46 million people are on SNAP (food stamps)
    • 1 in 4 kids are on SNAP
    • 1 in 10 kids are on ADD medication
    • 1 in 5 kids are obese
    • 2 in 5 kids are overweight 
  • “If a kid is overweight, he’s likely to live 13 years less than someone who’s not overweight. More likely to struggle in life,  earn less money, have a worse job, have more disability, more unhappiness, more suffering and this is a totally preventable thing.”Mark Hyman
  • One school removed sugar and refined foods and added healthier food options. 12 months later there was a 21% reduction in antisocial behavior, a 25% reduction in assaults, a 75% reduction in user restraints, and a 100% reduction in suicide! 
  • A 2014 CDC report found a strong link between poor nutrition and poor academic performance (lower test scores, lower grades, lower cognitive function, less alertness, poor memory)
  • “This is the first generation in history where life expectancy is going down and one in three kids born today will have diabetes in their lifetime” Mark Hyman

Intro

School Meals Are Vital For Kids

  • 70% of kids who attend Boston public schools live at or below the poverty line
    • Some schools have turned school buses into delivery vehicles to deliver food to kids in need
      • Boston is currently giving 10,000-12,000 meals daily to kids. However, before COVID-19, the city was giving meals to 30,000 kids daily 
        • “School food is more critical than ever right now” – Jill Shah
  • The US government spends $25 billion on school meals every year

Alarming Statistics About Americans

  • 46 million people are on SNAP (food stamps)
  • 1 in 4 kids are on SNAP
  • 1 in 10 kids are on ADD medication
  • 1 in 5 kids are obese
  • 2 in 5 kids are overweight 
    • “If a kid is overweight, he’s likely to live 13 years less than someone who’s not overweight. More likely to struggle in life,  earn less money, have a worse job, have more disability, more unhappiness, more suffering and this is a totally preventable thing.”Mark Hyman
  • “This is the first generation in history where life expectancy is going down and one in three kids born today will have diabetes in their lifetime” Mark Hyman

Making School Lunches Healthy 

  • Most schools don’t have kitchens, they don’t have freezers and ovens
    • Jill was shocked to see how much processed food kids ate 
  • After examining school budgets, Jill saw that prepackaged foods actually cost more than real, fresh food
    • “If you buy prepackaged stuff because it’s been processed, there’s so much more cost in it and then you’ve got margin on it as well” – Jill Shah
      • By serving students real food, you also employ three times as many people while still saving on the cost
        • As more schools adopt the real food model, the costs will drop further  since schools can buy food bulk at a lower price
  • Jill’s organization has helped about 30 public schools a year shift to use fresh food to make meals 
    • The schools offer kids a buffet so they can eat what they want and less food is wasted

Availablity of Nutritious Food Has A Huge Impact

  • One school removed sugar and refined foods and added healthier food options. 12 months later there was a 21% reduction in antisocial behavior, a 25% reduction in assaults, a 75% reduction in user restraints, and a 100% reduction in suicide! 
    • Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death in children aged 10-19
  • Kids who are well nourished perform better in schools 
    • Kids who aren’t well-nourished have more absentees, disruptive behaviors, and more inattentive in class
  • A 2014 CDC report found a strong link between poor nutrition and poor academic performance (lower test scores, lower grades, lower cognitive function, less alertness, poor memory)
  • By feeding kids healthy meals, Jill’s program has seen an increase in student participation by 20% while also decreasing food waste

Additional Notes

  • If you want your children’s school to implement healthier lunches, talk to the school’s superintendent and the food service director of that school district
Doctor's Farmacy with Mark Hyman, MD : , , ,
Notes By Alex Wiec

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