Could High-Tech Cafeteria Reduce Childhood Obesity?

Because you know how much I enjoy sharing innovative technology with you, a suburban school district in Dallas has enlisted the aid of a virtual cafeteria to battle the epidemic of childhood obesity.

The Carrollton-Farmers Branch school district recently launched its Virtual Cafeteria Web site to show kids, teachers and parents what's being served at their school every day. The site also calculates nutritional information on a virtual lunch tray, including calories, fat grams, protein and vitamins.

What I like about the site: A virtual cafeteria worker appears on screen and comments on the various choices a child can make -- both good and bad. For example, a cookie rates a Whoa! response, meaning it shouldn't be eaten less often. On the other hand, choosing a salad merits a Congratulations!

My hope is that parents get more involved in what their children eat at school by sitting with them at home and helping them make smarter choices. And they need to ensure their children get enough exercise, considering some kids aren't getting the activity they need at school.

Fact is, a parent must become a good role model to nurture these healthy behaviors. After all, it is completely unfair to your children to show them how to get more exercise and eat better if they don't see you doing those same things.

MSNBC August 25, 2005

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