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Advocates Slam NYC’s Cuts in School Breakfasts - “The City’s Response to Soaring Child Hunger Is Taking Food Away”
For Immediate Release:
Contact: Theresa Hassler, email@example.com
April 20, 2012 212-825-0028, Ext. 212
Advocates Slam NYC’s Cuts in School Breakfasts
“The City’s Response to Soaring Child Hunger Is Taking Food Away”
The following is a statement by Joel Berg, executive director of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger, responding to news that the City’s Department of Education has stopped promoting in-classroom school breakfasts:
For the full text of the New York Times article, click through HERE
“According to federal data, nearly 500,000 New York City children – or one in four – live in families that cannot afford an adequate supply of food – what the federal government calls ‘food insecure.’ Yet, at a time when one in four of the city’s children struggle against hunger, the City’s answer is to take food away from them. This is particularly galling given the soaring unemployment here.
In this instance, the Bloomberg Administration is discarding the Mayor’s professed interest in governing based only on data. The reality is that a wide array of data proves not only that New York City is dead last in school breakfast participation, but also that increasing breakfast consumption both reduces hunger and can stem obesity. A recent study by the respected national group, Food Research and Action Center, demonstrated that, out of 26 big cities in the U.S., New York was the very worst in terms of school breakfast participation. It is bad enough when New York loses to Boston or Philadelphia in baseball or basketball, but it’s truly unforgivable when we lose to them in feeding our hungry children.
An article in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association also concluded: ‘School breakfast participation was associated with significantly lower body mass index…[and] may be a protective factor [against obesity] by encouraging students to consume breakfast more regularly.’
Yet instead of relying on a massive body of evidence from around the nation proving that school breakfasts slash hunger and can reduce obesity, New York City – based on a miniscule, flawed, and skewed study – has come to the absurd conclusion that giving children healthy breakfasts somehow may increase obesity for a handful of students. But the City’s study focused only on obesity, and didn’t even attempt to consider whether school breakfasts decrease child hunger. It’s as if they’ve examined the potential minor side effects of a medicine without studying whether the medicine cured the disease it was intended to fight. That’s like studying whether chemotherapy marginally increases nausea for patients without even considering whether it effectively treats cancer.
The facts prove that school breakfasts decrease child hunger, improve student nutrition, reduce the number of times students report to school nurses, decrease student tardiness and absenteeism, and boost student performance on standardized tests. Getting more children a nutritious school breakfast is good health policy, good education policy, and good economic policy. We call on the City to reverse its new policy immediately and to once again promote in-classroom breakfasts for all children.”