09 June 2019

March for Healthy School Food

This video is about March for Healthy School Food, held at City Hall in NYC, June 9th, 2019, and organized by Andrea Strong of the NYC Healthy School Food ...

founder of the New York City healthy

school food Alliance and I am really glad that you're all here today to fight for our children's future they want to thank our partners and our champions Borough President Eric Adams councilmember Rafael Espinal fairly hip-hop is Green Green beats Haley Thomas and the happy organization the true Health Initiative and the courageously curvy girls foundation thank you all for everything you do for our children every day I think we're all here because we care about our children and quite frankly our children in New York City are in crisis one in five kindergarten children in New York City is obese one in four Head Start children children as young as eight years old or on cholesterol-lowering and blood pressure lowering medication and children 50% of children under the age of 15 have fatty streaks in their arteries the first signs of heart disease in the United States we spend 1.72 trillion dollars on health care costs related to the obesity epidemic that's ten percent of our gross domestic product but the statistic that stayed with me the longest was the one from the New

England Journal of Medicine that showed that this is the first generation of children who may not outlive their parents because of disease related to obesity now you want you might wonder what does school food have to do with all this well actually it's quite a lot New York City feeds 900,000 children a day and children spend over six hours a day in school and consume over half of their calories in school so in my mind when an organization is responsible for feeding 1 million children a day half of their calories the day there's a legal responsibility if not a moral responsibility to ensure that the food that they're feeding our children is not feeding the health crisis and yet that is exactly what New York City is doing every day in lunch rooms across the city you will find fast food mozzarella sticks chicken nuggets hamburgers Tostitos branded beef build taco bowls pizza highly processed fast food built by a big food system that does not care about the health of our children but only cares about lining their pockets the dangers of highly processed food

have been highlighted in a slew of recent research showing a direct correlation between processed food and chronic illnesses including cancer and cardiovascular disease it is also worth noting that when you introduce highly processed foods at a young age we're setting children up for a lifelong struggle with disease they think that mozzarella sticks are foods and they're not and because two-thirds of children in New York City who eat lunch have to eat lunch at school they cannot bring lunch from home they can't afford to school food is also an equity issue and equities is a word that our Chancellor likes to throw around quite a bit and to his credit he has improved equity in the middle school application process and is working to do so in high schools but we're dropping the ball on school food and make no mistake if you take one thing away from this rally remember that school food is about equity the health crisis hits low income families hardest because their children don't have the option to bring lunch from home they have to eat the processed food served at school and when you take a closer look at school food you see even more

inequity why do some schools serve the alternative menu which serves two homemade meals a week but others do not why do some scroll schools serve chocolate milk sweetened with 20 grams of sugar but other schools do not why do some schools have gardens or grow towers where children can learn to grow their food and develop a relationship with the earth and others do not why do some schools offer robust nutrition education so kids can understand the importance of the choices they put in their and others do not and how can any of our children eat their lunches when they only have six to eight minutes to do so we are not setting our children up for we are setting our children up for a lifelong struggle with diet and disease instead of giving them the best food toolkit possible these are the questions that led me to form the New York City healthy school food Alliance in October we are a group of parents doctors nutritionists wellness leaders activists and amazing elected officials we are here today at the first-ever March for healthy school food to demand that the mayor and Chancellor Carranza seize the

opportunity to become leaders in the school food movement wait for another generation of children to get sick the time is now we must act now we have developed a plan to revolutionize school food and to save the next generation of children from diet-related disease to explain our plan I have with me my daughter Emily wiener someone who knows school food better than most of us because she eats it every day at PS 261 in the Brooklyn here's Emily thank you mommy I'm very excited to be here today my mom and her team of advocates have come up with a four-part plan to revolutionize school food and put the health of all children first first you have to change the food we don't want any more fast food we want real homemade foods made from scratch by real people not factor all kids deserve this not just those who have packed lunch from home second we want we want hands on nutrition and Culinary Education I left the food detective work shop my mom bought into our school from the beach' foundation we learned to make veggie chili and read food labels I read labels all the time now I will

have that tool with me for my entire life [Applause] third give all kids a garden to grow food and I get to water snap peas and take care of strawberries at PS 260 we love our garden all kids should have one not just those schools with enough pta funding is to give us more time to eat our lunches and plant recess right now I never have time to eat my lunch we're always recess which is not let us eat for a full half an hour and run around for a full half an hour before you put us back into a classroom and better grades and mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Carranza if you make these four changes you will be giving us a chit a real us kids a real chance to live our best lives you will be giving us the next generation the chance to make us healthy and ready to take on the world thank you [Applause] Thank You Emily [Applause]