Last week, students from all over the nation debated about the nutritional value of school lunch and whether it is a contributing factor to obesity. On KQED Do Now , they were asked, does the school cafeteria provide students with a healthy lunch?

This issue came up in the news after a special KQED News video posted online called Hunger in Valley of Plenty: What’s for Lunch? The segment reported on an estimated one in three children in the Central Valley who live in a home that experiences “food insecurity” – not knowing where their next meal is coming from. School meals are an important way to give children the nutrition they need, but Central Valley school districts struggle to source healthy, local food and combat childhood obesity.

Students went back and forth on the issue on Twitter where there were over 1,800 tweets posted throughout the week. Some students blamed the lack of nutritional value of school lunches as a contributing factor to obesity. Some blamed the home environment as the key ingredient to a healthy diet. Many felt that our culture in general does not embrace healthy living and that students will eat unhealthy even if there are healthy options like the school lunch.

School Lunch is Unhealthy

Many students felt that school lunches are unhealthy and that they are a contributing factor to obesity. Here a short exchange that argues how schools more concerned with the budget and will buy cheap and unhealthy food as a result.

We Don’t Make Healthy Eating Choices

Most students felt that students don’t choose to eat healthy even though there are healthy options. Some think that the healthy options are not appetizing and would rather eat junk because it tastes better.


People Don’t Eat the School Lunch Because it’s Gross

The was a strong counter argument made about students who don’t eat the school lunch. The claim was that the lunch is gross…even if it is healthy.

Should the Government Get Involved?

Some students felt that the issue was bigger than schools and the home…it was a societal problem, one that requires government intervention.

govt_diet copy

I Have No Problem with the Food

There was a small percentage of students who had no problem with the school lunch and felt it was a healthy option, and in fact, were grateful for the free service.

Obesity Comes From the Home, Not School

Many people felt that obesity was not a school lunch issue and that it comes from the home…that perhaps education on obesity is a strong way to battle the epidemic.


It’s a Class Issue

Here’s an interesting conversation students had about how the media influences young people’s choice to eat unhealthy food and that ultimately it is a class issue.


Pictures of school lunch

Many students posted pictures of their lunch to show that it is either healthy or unhealthy. Some of the pictures are of school cafeteria food, some are of lunches that came from home.

Healthy lunch from home

Healthy lunch from school

Unhealthy lunch from school

School Is Not To Blame for Obesity, Our Culture Embraces Unhealthy Eating 8 March,2017Matthew Williams

  • Roxy

    this discussion is beautiful. bravo Matthew



Matthew Williams

Matthew Williams is a filmmaker and media educator who has recently transplanted to Oakland from Los Angeles. He believes that you are what you eat and feels everyone should have a multitude of dietary options for self-realization. Matthew is the Educational Technologist at KQED.

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