It's all fine and good to say kids should be eating more vegetables at school, but who's going to foot the bill? For 57 schools in New York City, that benefactor is now Whole Foods, reports the Associated Press.
The supermarket chain, known for its aisles of organic goodness, has announced it's donating the dollars needed to put salad bars in schools throughout the Big Apple. Valued at $300,000, the salad bar donation is part of a larger initiative to bring salad bars to all New York City public schools by 2015.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg addressed the childhood obesity crisis at a new Whole Foods location on East 57th Street in Manhattan, where Whole Foods officials announced the company's contribution to public schools.
"Giving every student access to healthy fruit and vegetables is the next step in countering the obesity epidemic and getting kids started on a healthy habit for life," Bloomberg said.
According to a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than one-third of American children and teens were overweight or obese in 2008.
Though Bloomberg's initiatives have been met with public outcry in the past—particularly his proposal to limit soda sizes—the mayor says his administration's public health policies are to credit for having "defied the national trend" by reducing childhood obesity rates over the last five years.
A press release on mikebloomberg.com reports that rates of obesity for kids K-8 dropped 5.5 percent from 2006 to 2011. Thus far, the Department of Education, the Mayor's Fund, and the Fund for Public Schools have already brought salad bars to 1,000 schools.
The City is also upping its installation of water jets in schools, which will provide fresh, clean tap water that the City hopes will steer kids away from sugar-loaded soda.
"Healthy communities start with health children," said Community Affairs Commissioner Nazli Parvizi at the store's unveiling. "I believe strongly in the ability of our youth to become the future leaders their neighborhoods need them to be, but children need to be active and healthy in order to be contributing members of society."
Will salad bars make a dent in childhood obesity rates? Let us know in the comments section below.