Students revolt against Michelle Obama’s lunch menu

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School lunch The Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, championed by First Lady Michelle Obama, has been hailed as the latest measure to combat both child hunger and obesity while improving the health and nutrition of the nation’s youth. However, the caloric caps for these meals are falling short of meeting the energy needs of students.

Now these students are uniting their voice to make a difference thanks to a group of students and teachers from Wallace County High School in Sharon Springs, Kan. Their music video parody, “We are Hungry” has gone viral and has now been featured by many mainstream media outlets, including the TODAY show and ABC News.  

“Active teens require between 2,000 – 5,000 calories a day to energy and growth needs,” text at the beginning of the video states. “School lunch policy mandates all teens receive only 750-850 calories per lunch.”

Among the lyrics:

  • “Give me some seconds - I, I need to get some food today.”
  • “So by the time you go to practice, and you feel like falling down, I'll carry you home.”
  • Tonight we are hungry. Set the policy on fire. It can burn brighter than the sun.”

According to the Kansas City Star, the video was penned by Linda O’Connor, an English teacher at the school. Despite the outrage, state nutrition and education officials point that portion sizes in many school cafeteria's haven't changed, and most of the protest to the new federal rule is being raised by school districts that had previously ignored calorie maximums. Read more about the story behind the video here.

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September, 26, 2012 at 03:30 PM

This is ridiculous. If you eat more than 3000 calories in a day, you would add a pound on each day. And I don't know about these "active teens", but I am 18, and go to the gym almost every day for an hour or two. I do ab, arms, and butt workouts, several squats with weights, and finish off with a 45 minute run on the treadmill at 3.4-5.5 miles an hour. In total I work out for an hour to two hours. In that time, I only burn off between 500- 1000 calories, give or take. So if I ate more than 3000-5000 calories a day, I would still be adding pound or so on every day. And if you're on a 2000 cal/day diet, then 850 calories is a perfect amount of food for lunch. That's almost half of your whole intake for a day! And most teens these days are NOT active. So I think this calorie cap is very beneficial overall for the general student body who do not exercise. And if these kids are so upset over not getting enough to eat, then they should make and bring their own lunch to school. At least it'd be more nutritional than school food.

Nebraska  |  September, 27, 2012 at 10:27 AM

if your working out for 2 hours and only burning off 1,000 calories top, your not working out very hard. unless your legs are 2ft long 3.4 miles per hour is not a run, but a brisk walk at best. these lunches are extremely low on the calarie intake a kid needs

September, 26, 2012 at 05:48 PM

Hey, if you don't want the school lunch they sell you then....I know, I know....TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOURSELF AND BRING YOUR OWN...!!! How hard is that. Plan ahead, go to the grocery store, but what you want and bring it. You want fat stuff, its up to you. You turn fat by age 20, so be it.

Iowa  |  September, 26, 2012 at 09:51 PM

As the mother of a 4th grader that never used to come home from school hungry and is now coming home ravenously hungry, eating whatever she can get her hands on (multiple peanut butter sandwiches, cereal, raw veggies, fruit, yogurt, pudding, etc) until supper then eating her supper too, the limited calorie counts and low fat everything concerns me. Young brains need some fat to function, muscles need protein, grains/carbs are needed for glucose/energy production. However I don't believe the First Lady should be blamed for it all, she is a backer of it, but it was enacted by Agriculture Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Kevin Concannon. And that is who the issues should be taken up with.

Iowa  |  September, 27, 2012 at 08:38 AM

I have two teenage sons in school. Both are incredibly hungry after the measily, tasteless meals they are served at school. We did not elect Michelle Obama and don't need her to tell us how to feed our children. It feels like we live in Russia or China --- total government control is the Obama's mission. What happened to the "Land of the Free"?? This is ridiculous -- I agree!

Minnesota  |  September, 27, 2012 at 08:46 AM

Obviously the first 2 responses do not have children in school, nor are the experiencing this first hand. My own grocery bill has doubled(without bringing a lunch to school). My son, who is in cross country, can't even perform at his meets, he is starving in the afternoon when they compete. He now packs snacks everyday just to make it through. I would encourage parents and others to eat breakfast and lunch at school. You will be extremely surprised and shocked at this change. I worry about the children's test scores, that is where this change will be noticed the most. I am all for changing the menu as it was all processed foods, but let's give those kids something healthy and filling. This may be the only good meal some children receive everyday.

Arkansas  |  September, 27, 2012 at 09:12 AM

I have not seen the new lunches but I hear a lot of complaints from teachers about what is being served. It sounds like a lot of the extra money spent on these "healthy lunches" ends up in the trash due to kids not liking what is being served. Also, the teachers' concerns are on the kids whose only meals are coming from the school lunch program and that they are not getting enough to eat... not all parents are concerned if their kids eat. I send lunches with my kids because I know they will not eat what is in the lunch room. Their lunches are not healthy but I know they will eat them and not be hungry at school. One of my kids is underweight and needs all the calories she can get. Here is an idea if we really want to control obesity. Control what can be purchased with food stamps. If the government is going to tell everybody what they can and cannot eat then why not do the same for those you are providing for (might lose some votes then).

Nebraska  |  September, 27, 2012 at 10:31 AM

The school meal calorie max of 800 calories is not enough, especially if the kids are in any atheletics. If the government is so worried about obescity with the kids, believe me they are not obese from the school lunches. Its from being non-active and what they eat after school at home. Ths needs to be change as soon as possible.

September, 27, 2012 at 02:40 PM

I think this is ridiculous, these kids are eating a bunch of junk food instead of a well balanced meal because the food the school serves SUCKS! They are skipping lunch cuz it's bad, then going to the convenient store and eating a bunch of "junk". When I was growing up, we had home made bread with every school lunch every day, real butter, real mashed potatoes, real gravy, home made cake, guess what there weren't many over weight kids let alone obese ones, why BECAUSE WE WERE ACTIVE!!!! Quit taking away recess', etc, get our students more active and I don't think there would be such a problem.

Massachusetts  |  September, 27, 2012 at 08:55 PM

Catherine, You would not gain a pound of fat every day by eating 3000 calories per day. If you think you burn off 500-1000 calories a day exercising that is great and I do agree with Randy, but your body still uses calories the rest of the day to support your normal bodily functions (also known as your "basal metabolic rate"). Even while sitting on the couch watching tv, your body burns calories. Also, as an FYI to add 1 pound of fat, the technical conversion is that you need to eat 3500 calories more than your body uses in a day (BMR + exercise). So, if you burn 1,000 calories exercising and use 1,500 calories to just be alive you would need to eat 6,000 calories to gain 1 pound in one day. The reason so many Americans (myself included) gain weight is due to consistently being over their bodily needs in calorie consumption. If you were 500 calories over the limit every day for a month you would gain a few pounds!

North Kansas  |  September, 29, 2012 at 10:37 AM

So the English teacher who is promoting this at mark 2:02 is the one against this and helped the students make the video... Anyone notice her chubby stomach? Oh, and someone please make sure this kid never sings and changes his career to something else...Honestly don't blame the obama's for everything she backed up the notion that is all, people forget that it is a team of people who make up bills, and laws not just one person. Did you not take politics in high school? One other thing kids are fat nowadays! Drive by near a high school anywhere in the USA and you will see obesity. Most kids have dropped off of sports because it is "too hard". So yeah fat kids eat your 850 calories a day since you don't want to work off the 5,000 Calories you ate... I also think its funny they didn't put one fat kid in the video except for Mrs. Fatty. Quit playing video games and go outside and throw a ball like I did 10 years ago...Oh and repubs back off the president every now and again...Your so far off to the right that you forgot to take your head out of your ass..

Ohio  |  October, 01, 2012 at 02:51 PM

Mom, you could make your sons lunch and send with them so the would have enough to eat. As a father of 8 boys I know , when they are teens, regardles of how much they ate at lunch they were always hungry when they got home.

Wisconsin  |  October, 03, 2012 at 12:39 PM

Todd, Loved your comment about controlling what is purchased with food stamps. If you are on food stamps you should only be allowed to purchase healthy and nutritious food with the stamps. Food stamps progam should be tailored after the WIC program where you are allowed to only purchase certain things. The other thing is that people need to learn how to cook healthy meal for themselves and their family. Child obesity comes from the inactivity and the inability to cook a descent meal.

Hoxie AR  |  October, 05, 2012 at 01:01 PM

Our school lunches are ridiculous. Thats all.

October, 28, 2012 at 09:08 AM

The policy also includes that if a student brings their own lunch it can't be more than the calories of the school lunch. If it is school staff is supposed to take it away or risk loosing state funding.

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