Challenge & Solution
In the last 30 years, the percentage of overweight or obese children in this country has tripled.
Our country is raising a generation of children that is overweight, vulnerable to diet-related disease and ill-equipped to make good choices about food. The cost of doing nothing is high, for our children and our nation:
- Currently, nine out of ten children don’t eat enough vegetables, and six out of ten don’t eat enough fruit.
- One in three of our kids are on track to develop diabetes in their lifetime. For kids of color, it’s one in two.
- Children and adults who suffer from diet-related diseases score lower on tests, miss more days of school, advance less in their careers, and raise children who are likely to repeat the same cycle.
- By 2030, when the current generation of kids reaches adulthood, diet-related diseases will cost our nation more than $1 trillion a year: $550 billion in medical costs, and another $500 billion in lost productivity.
Schools are uniquely positioned to be a national focal point for obesity prevention…” —Institute of Medicine, Accelerating Progress in Obesity Prevention: Solving the Weight of the Nation
Schools are where children spend nearly 25% of their time, consume up to 50% of their calories, and set lifelong habits. By focusing on the classrooms, cafeterias and playgrounds of high-need schools, FoodCorps hits the strategic place of intervention to address the nutrition gap and impact kids at scale.
FoodCorps is creating a future in which all our nation’s children know what healthy food is, care where it comes from, and have access to it every day. When our work is done, generations that follow will grow up enveloped in a vibrant school food environment––and will go on to lead healthier, more productive and longer lives.
The typical elementary student receives just 3.4 hours of nutrition education each year. FoodCorps teaches kids about healthy food and where it comes from. Our service members work alongside teachers to increase the quantity of nutrition education children receive, while dramatically improving its quality through an emphasis on hands-on learning.
School gardens are powerful gateways for getting kids to try new foods. They also bring parents and community members together and help them become advocates for healthier school lunch. FoodCorps builds and tends school gardens and teaches cooking lessons. Our service members give kids the opportunity to cook and taste the fresh food they’ve grown.
Children who know the farmer who grew their broccoli are more likely to eat it. Studies show that children participating in Farm to School programs consume one more serving of fruits and vegetables per day. FoodCorps fills lunch trays with real food from the farm. Our service members forge relationships between school food service directors and local farmers who can supply healthy and sustainable ingredients at scale.