(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) This week the St. Joseph School District is celebrating National School Lunch Week (NSLW). Skaith Elementary had a surprise visit from the St. Joseph Mustangs. Players ate with kids and cheered them on for making healthy lunch choices.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of kids with obesity has trippled since the 1970s. Now, nearly 1 in 5 kids from ages 6-19 are obese.
Childhood obesity leads to multiple chronic health issues in adulthood, and the most recent report from State of Obesity shows 32.5% of adults are obese.
The St. Joseph School District uses NSLW to combat that.
SJSD has celebrated School Lunch Week for the past 25 years. They use this as an opportunity to educate studetents, teachers, and parents about healthy decisions.
Starting in 2013, the school district changed from giving students a plate of food to giving them multiple healthy options to choose from.
"When you give a kid those choices, you make them accountable and it helps them to develop into adults who make those good choices because they've had to make healthy choices throughout their whole life," said Becky Schoeneck, a nutirtionist for the SJSD.
The SJSD says they use more fresh fruits and veggies from local farmers.
"I think a lot of kids dont know what fresh fruits and vegitables look like. But this allows them to get used to it. This makes it so choosing healthy options is common and confortable," said Schoeneck.
Skaith Elementary students were visited by Missouri Western State University Monday. On Wednesday, students will get a visit from the St. Joseph Police Department.