A decade ago, KC Healthy Kids participated in Kansas City Public Television’s six-part series, GenerationXL, that examined “the obstacles and challenges facing schools in their battle against sedentary lifestyles and bad eating habits among children.”
Now, though Take Note, they are checking back in with us and some other local foot soldiers in this ongoing battle of bulge. Our four-part update, GenerationXL: A 10-Year Weigh-In, goes back to the cafeteria, back to the gymnasium, and beyond, to measure progress in addressing a health issue of monumental importance to our nation’s future.
Video 1: The Farm-to-Cafeteria Movement
Ten years ago, one of our experts termed modern school children “the most overfed, but undernourished, generations of children that we have ever had.” Just like parents, food service directors struggle to offer nutritious meals that kids will actually eat versus the unhealthy junk we know they like. Today, some innovative school nutrition executives are partnering with regional growers to not only solve the mystery of students’ palates, but to also reconnect them to the soil.
Video 2: The $1 Menu
No, this is not an advertisement for the great values offered at your favorite fast-food joint. A lot of the discussion in GenerationXL centered on how school cafeterias could actually afford to provide the healthy meals mandated by the federal government. When you strip out things like personnel costs and other overhead, schools say they only have about a buck left from federal subsidies to actually apply to the ingredients. This time around, we picked the incongruous location of the Parkway Social Kitchen on the Country Club Plaza to put local chefs Jasper Mirabile Jr. and Jeffrey “Stretch” Rumaner into the shoes of food service directors.
Video 3: Let’s Move!
One episode of GenerationXL, “The Rise and Fall of PE in Schools,” explored how the diminished amount of physical activity in schools was contributing to the childhood obesity problem. Some panelists fretted that preparing students for high-stakes standardized assessments was crowding out time for extracurricular activities like gym. Such concerns persist, but the intervening decade has brought with it new ways of thinking about physical education, stepped up pressure on cities to facilitate walking and biking, and a continued emphasis on the types of school-supported activities that Michelle Obama encouraged through the Let’s Move! Initiative she launched in 2010.
TV Special (Coming Soon)
In this half-hour program, which will premiere Jan. 25 at 7:30 p.m. on Channel 19.1, KCPT’s executive producer of public affairs, Nick Haines, will reprise his role from GenerationXL by hosting a panel discussion that addresses the many issues raised in our new reporting. Haines will direct his questions to a diverse range of participants from the medical community and elsewhere.