Maryland school lunch is not fatteningAlex Hershaft...


November 03, 1995

Maryland school lunch is not fattening

Alex Hershaft (letter, Oct. 13) is certainly correct that the number of obese children in the United States has more than doubled in the past three decades. However, it is inactivity, and not just excessive caloric intake, that is widely regarded as a major cause of obesity among children.

The reasons for inactivity vary, but most common are some children's preference for sedentary pursuits, such television and computers, and concern on the part of some parents that it is no longer safe for children to play outdoors unsupervised.

While it is true that the 1993 USDA survey found that in school lunches nationwide, 38 percent of the calories came from fat, this figure was no higher than the overall fat intake for all Americans.

In Maryland, we have been working for the past four years (well before the survey was released) on lowering the fat content of our school lunches.

Mr. Hershaft writes from Bethesda. According to the director of food and nutrition services for the Montgomery County Public Schools, the average fat content of their school lunches is 30 percent or less, and has been since 1988.

Mr. Hershaft assails the USDA commodity program for ''dumping'' surplus meat and dairy products on the school lunch program. Over half of the entitlement foods distributed to schools are fruits, vegetables and grain products which contain virtually no fat.

Schools can now get cuts of meat with a fat content of between 10 and 18 percent (leaner than cuts of meat available to consumers at some supermarkets.)

While it's important to be concerned about the problem of overweight children, who will more than likely grow up to be overweight adults, we must also keep in mind the root causes of obesity. The school lunch program is not one of them.

Sheila G. Terry


The writer is chief of nutrition and transportation services at the Maryland Department of Education.

Marine unit belongs to city

This November and December marks the 45th anniversary for ''Baltimore's own.'' The name was given by then Mayor Thomas D'Alessandro Jr. to the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Unit, the 11th Engineer Battalion, called to active duty in 1950 for the Korean conflict.

Some of these Baltimore Marines, World War II veterans and kids just out of high school, were soon to find themselves moving up a single winding mountain road in Korea to a place later to be known as ''Frozen Chosin.''

It was there that the secretly massed Chinese communist force attacked and surrounded the greatly outnumbered Marines. The outcome of that battle has become a proud page in the history of the Marine Corps and our country. They fought in severe winter weather with temperatures 20 degrees below zero.

Some of ''Baltimore's Own'' gave up their lives, others were wounded or suffered cold-weather injuries, but they were not defeated. In that battle and that war, 15 men from the battalion lost their lives.

We, their comrades, remember and honor these men, as all Americans should. Their loss is more painful for us. We not only knew our fallen comrades, we knew their families, their wives and sweethearts. We knew them as fellow workers, schoolmates, even neighbors. When we look back at our lives we can better understand what they gave up for us.

It was by their sacrifice and that of all the men and women who have given their lives that we enjoy the gift of a free society that we have today. We must never forget. Semper Fidelis.

P. Michael Pezzella



Gambling promises just empty talk

It amazes me that people still think they can get something for nothing.

I saw the Oct. 16 editorial cartoon in The Sun and could not agree more. Promises of casino benefits to education, to the poor, to the state coffers or to anything other than casino owners' pockets are lies. Casinos produce nothing.

The only jobs that will be filled with local workers are cleaning and maintenance positions and a few numbers of minimum wage service jobs. Everyone else will be brought in to fill the newly created jobs. Money that is lost at the wheels and tables inside the gambling houses will no be spent locally, will not be turned over to generate additional value, will not produce anything, but will be shipped out of the area.

Look at Atlantic City. Have the promises of prosperity been fulfilled anywhere in that city beyond a two-block distance from the casino district? I think not.

The money is just pumped out. It is money that could have been spent on clothing, food, investment and durable goods and it will have to be replaced or the living standard will go down.

Promises of prosperity on these terms make no sense, except to the foolish and the desperate.

Robert J. Lieb


Mayor breaks faith with teachers

One of Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke's main election promises was to make education a top priority in the next four years.

He proudly pointed to the 5 percent raise that the teachers had just received as evidence of his commitment.

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