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Italy’s Battle Against Childhood Obesity Begins With Low-Cost, Healthy School Meals

September 8, 2010: 06:58 AM EST

Beginning this month, lunches for Italian schoolchildren will take a healthier turn, with cafeteria menus offering  low-cost meals made with fresh, local and organic foods. The change is a first salvo in Italy’s use of the so-called Mediterranean diet to battle childhood obesity: one in three Italian children under 12 years old is overweight. Earlier this year, the country’s Health Ministry issued guidelines to spur organic food consumption and promote a “zero-mile approach” to bringing locally-grown foods into schools. In one town, school meals include two main courses, a vegetable side dish and fresh fruit that costs about $3.91 a day per child. The town then chips in an extra $2.00 to cover the whole cost. The Health Ministry also urges teachers to include nutrition education in their lesson plans.

Fulvio Paolocci, "Italian school lunches go organic, low-cost, local", Globalpost, September 08, 2010, © GlobePost International
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