10-9-14, “How School Lunch Became the Latest Political Battleground.”

Confessore, Nicholas. “How School Lunch Became the Latest Political Battleground.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 11 Oct. 2014. Web. 07 Oct. 2014. <http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/12/magazine/how-school-lunch-became-the-latest-political-battleground.html?_r=0>.

Nicholas Confessore is a correspondent for politics at the New York Times. He was a politics major at Princeton University as an undergrad. In 2003, he won the Livingston Award for national reporting.

School lunches have been a topic of much debate for the last few years as stricter nutrition standpoints have had to been met through government regulations. Confessore stated that there has been many changes towards school lunches that are still being debated. Such as, should pizza be a vegetable? Not only is this debate about nutrition, it’s mostly political. Each party has different agendas as to what school lunches should look like with either more or less government help in getting specific nutritional goals.

School lunches suck. As tighter restrictions on what are considered dietary necessities are put in place, many more students are left hungry and unsatisfied after lunch. School lunches are bland because there’s a sodium limit on meals, they’re small and expensive for the average student. These restrictions are especially noticeable in high school where students can leave, if school’s want to even break even, then allowing them to make what they want and including health information would be the most beneficial for all.

 

10-9-14, “Pizza is a Vegetable?”

Jalonik, Mary Clare. “Pizza Is a Vegetable? Congress Says Yes.” Msnbc.com. NBC News, n.d. Web. <http://www.nbcnews.com/id/45306416/ns/health-diet_and_nutrition/t/pizza-vegetable-congress-says-yes/#.VEASwfm-1Pk>.

Mary Clare Jalonik is a current correspondent for NBC News. She writes mainly about food policy in the United States.

Since the beginning of Obama’s presidency, there have been many attempted changes at creating a healthier diet for school age children. Jalonik states that Congress has made these changes nearly impossible by declaring pizza as a vegetable to keep in on the plates of students across that nation. Congress declared tightened school budgets as their reasoning for their stance on foods like pizza and french fries, because by banning them, schools would have a hard time finding acceptable replacements at a similar price.

While I don’t think that pizza should be considered a vegetable, I believe that the government shouldn’t have such an integrated hand in what schools provide for lunch. I do realize that foods should be much healthier than they are now, but there’s only so much money in a school budget to get more nutritious foods. I believe that the only way for the government to be able to ban certain things in schools as lunch options would be if education got more of the federal budget. Maybe instead of spending so much on our military, we could help out students who can’t help themselves.

10-2-14, “SMART Lunch.”

“SMART Lunch – Adhscurriculum and Instruction.” SMART Lunch – Adhscurriculum and Instruction. Athens Drive High School, n.d. Web. 08 Oct. 2014. <https://sites.google.com/site/athensdrive/SMART-Lunch>.

There is no author listed, but I’m going to assume that it is either a staff member or administrator that wrote this piece because it was published on a school’s Google page and is obviously affiliated with the school in some way. This website has many useful links about the premise behind SMART Lunch and what it is supposed to be like at that school.

The author’s opinion is that SMART Lunch is a good program for high school aged students because it makes them more successful. It makes them successful by forcing them to attend tutorials throughout the term/semester. Students are also give a grade for attendance.

I think SMART Lunch is stupid. It’s a nice idea to give time in the middle of the day to make things up, but requiring students to attend is ridiculous. If a student does not need help, then why would they attend something that they don’t need? Grading attendance is not useful because it’s pretty much only going to make it so those that couldn’t pass the class are going to be able to pass a class because they are forced to attend. If anything, having a break in the middle of the day is going to decrease attendance and create problems from giving students too much time.

10-2-14, “Panter Creek’s SMART Lunch…”

Lamotte-Kerr, Jeanna. “Panther Creek’s SMART Lunch Credited with Higher Graduation Rates.” Raleigh Public Record. Raleigh Public Record, 24 Mar. 2014. Web. <http://raleighpublicrecord.org/news/2014/03/28/panther-creeks-smart-lunch-leads-to-higher-graduation-rates/&gt;.

The author of this article, Jeanna Lamotte-Kerr is a freelance writer as well as a teacher. She’s been a contributor to the Raleigh Public Record website for many years and publishing many pieces with them over that time.

The author extolls that virtues of SMART Lunch as a program with both students and teachers in mind. Also, she brings up the higher graduation rates at that specific high school because teachers believe students to be more involved. By labeling students and putting them into appropriate groups, the school is able to meet No Child Left Behind standards. The author also states that each school should implement the SMART Lunch program and change it to suit each school and their needs.

While SMART Lunch may work at certain schools, I don’t think that it should be something implemented throughout the US. To me, it seems that while this could be a good program at a private school or boarding schools, at a public school, many students will make no effort to do what is expected of them. If SMART Lunch were to be implemented at a school, both students and teachers should be on board. If there is a large minority that doesn’t want it, then it should be implemented. Period.

9-23-14, “Sleep for Teenagers.”

“Teens and Sleep.” Sleep for Teenagers. National Sleep Foundation, n.d. Web. 23 Sept. 2014. <http://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/teens-and-sleep>.

While there is no real author of the article posted, I’m going to assume that there was one or more writers with very extensive knowledge of how sleep and teenagers go together since this was posted to the National Sleep Foundation website, whose purpose is to help inform Americans about the benefits of sleep and many topics surrounding sleep.

The authors of this piece state that sleep is important to all, but especially important to teenagers because we are still developing, whereas adults are fully developed. They also state that teens need almost a full extra hour more sleep per night than adults, something which is increasingly difficult to attain. Since teenagers are still developing, having a sleep schedule that changes too much on a weekly basis can be harmful in the long run.

While I agree that there is major importance to getting enough sleep, it’s nearly impossible for many teenagers to reach that nine hour threshold, many rarely even get eight on a school night. With homework, work, school and family, there’s no way to get it all into one 24 hour span. In order for that to happen, many students would have to pick and choose what to do when to get that much sleep. And that then comes down to, do I spend time with my family tonight or try and cram in some homework before bed, which just seems unfair to all. However, I don’t have a solution to figuring out how to have teens get everything done and still get enough sleep.

 

9-18-14, “Sleep Benefits…”

Scott, Elizabeth. “The Overwhelming Support and Benefits of Power Napping.”About.com. About.com, n.d. Web. 18 Sept. 2014.

Elizabeth Scott is a stress management expert and an award-winning blogger about stress and life. Her passion is to help others live healthier lives.

Scott states that there are benefits to mid-day power naps for everyone, whether the person gets the recommended 8 hours asleep, especially for those that don’t meet that minimum sleep requirement. These mid-day naps will also help relieve every day stresses. Whether or not someone takes a  nap or just meditates, there are similar benefits to doing either. By bringing up the negatives of not getting enough sleep, Scott shows that it’s more than being relaxed and not enough sleep does have harmful effects in both long and short term.

Napping is essential for functioning. Sure, it’d be great to be in a world where everyone gets enough sleep, but that is not always the case. In order to counteract that, naps should be a necessity, or at least down time in the middle of the day should be. Anything that can help get your mind off of the day to day stress is going to help increase the overall productivity of a group or an individual person.

 

9-17-14, “His + Her Sharpie Mug DIY.”

Elsie, and Emma. “A Beautiful Mess – A Blog by Elsie + Emma.” A Beautiful Mess. N.p., 17 June 2012. Web. 18 Sept. 2014.

Elsie and Emma are two females who blog about their DIY projects and ideas. Together, they created a blog format to show off their creations and make them available to others by giving step by step instructions on how to make each project.

The project includes some basic around the house objects, just Sharpies and old or secondhand mugs or plates. Once your design is done, just bake in the oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. These mugs hold up super well, through scrubbing and the dishwasher.

Couples mugs are cheesy and cliche. Honestly, it’s gross, but the idea is a good one. Having the ability to recreate something out of relatively little and make it your own is awesome. This would be even better if it worked on all Sharpie colors and mug colors and types. However, I don’t think that this is something that I would do unless someone asked me to.

9-4-14, “Lawsuits Against Fast-Food Restaurants Are an Effective Way to Combat Obesity.”

“Lawsuits Against Fast-Food Restaurants Are an Effective Way to Combat Obesity.” Testimony before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law, Committee on the Judiciary, Washington, D.C., 19 June 2003.

John H. Banzhaf III started the movement of legal action against obesity, specifically against fast food cause obesity. He began this campaign against fast food after his earlier success doing the same thing with the tobacco industry. He is, also, a lobbyist for the U.S. Government.

In his article, with a really long title as seen above, Banzhaf and his hatred of fast food due to the supposed link between that and obesity, are horribly obvious. The author states that because Congress has done nothing to stop this “epidemic,” that the average American should take it into their own hands. But by what means? By suing these large fast food giants. Not only that, but he believes that the fast food companies should take it upon themselves to disclose the nutritional information as well as offer other nutritional options to those that “find it inconvenient to eat elsewhere.”

It’s not the corporations’ personal fault that there has been a steady increase of obesity both here in America and throughout the whole world, but the individuals that eat there more than they know they should. This article is a little dated, and by a little; I mean 11 years. Since then, there have been many changes similar to those that Banzhaf advocated for, but the more healthy looking options are normally just as bad for you and cost much more. It is not the fault of one company, or companies, but rather the persons who should know better than to eat fast food all the time. It is those people that should take responsibility for their health problems instead of blaming them on someone else.

 

9-4-14, “Obesity: Much of the Responsibility Lies with Corporations.”

“Much of the Responsibility Lies with Corporations.” Z Magazine, Vol. 16, Dec. 2003. Reprinted by permission of Z Communication.

Yves Engler is Canadian. Often seen as radical, he’s written articles for several well-known (if you’re Canadian) newspapers.

Engler believes that, like many other people, that it is the fast food companies fault. He states a lot of changes over time in the fast food costs, markets, and even other companies besides the fast food ones. Engler hits on the point that because the ads are so enticing and the serving facts aren’t clearly read that it is the industry’s fault that Americans are obese.

 

Personally, I think Engler needs a reality check. He is pointing the blame at everyone else first before he blames himself. He, as a consumer, is the only one at fault. Sure, the ads are enticing and the food sounds good on occasion, but self-control – something that isn’t emphasized today as much as it was fifty years ago – is the most important tool to combating this epidemic. If lazy people are suing people because they couldn’t make the smart decision of saying NO to that super sized meal, then what will happen to our nation? With these lazy people in charge, the fast food industry is getting a lot of attention.

8-29-14, “Don’t Blame the Eater”

Editor-in-chief of Men’s Health magazines, David Zinczenko is the author of the article, Don’t Blame the Eater.

Don’t Blame the Eater is an article that Zinczenko mentioned his life growing up where there weren’t many options for him to make healthy, affordable options, leading to his personal battle with obesity. He also claimed that a startling number of children are now launching lawsuits against big fast food chains for causing their obesity, something borderline ridiculous. As an adult, he advocated for the more widespread usage of nutritional information on the fast food, something similar to what one would find in a grocery store.

Fast food is bad. However, that being said, it is not the fault of the fast food chain that childhood obesity is on the rise, but rather all the reasons that lead people to eat such food such as, cost and abundance. This doesn’t leave the chain blameless, but rather not entirely to blame, due to the lack of easily accessible nutrition information and large portion sizes. Even today, there are still restaurants that don’t adequately show the nutritional facts of their product, but rather just calories per portion.