A new ban on trans fat in schools is cooking in the state legislature. If passed, it would be the toughest restriction in the country.
Trans fats can be found in some processed foods like breads and cheeses, as well as hydrogenated vegetable oils .
But according to district director of nutrition services Dan Sharp, the change wouldn’t be too drastic for local schools if the state bans them.
“Already 99.5% of our foods in District 51 are trans-fat free,” said Sharp. The district has been working for four years to get to that point.
“But there is a 0.2% to 0.4% percent of some trans fats in some products when they’re processed,” said Sharp.
Back to Health owner Dr. Daniel Lonquist says trans fats have been linked to heart disease, depression and hyperactivity disorders.
“Especially at a young age, when their nervous system and their brain is developing, giving kids these unhealthy fats is going to be very detrimental to their learning and development,” said Lonquist.
Colorado’s childhood obesity rate is growing faster than any state besides Nevada, according to the National Survey of Children’s Health. The new bill is an effort to change that.
It would not only ban the fats for lunches, but also for school breakfasts, a la carte items and vending machines.
“I think...the state wants to get ahead of the federal law of some of those mandated changes that are coming down the pipe,” said Sharp.
Parent Ron Wilson agrees with the ban.
“Schools are of course funded by taxes,” said Wilson, “and we shouldn’t be funding something that’s inherently unhealthy for our kids’ diet. That doesn’t make sense.”
Stacey Marshall said children’s nutrition is not necessarily up to the state.
“I think it’s more up to the parents, but schools could probably definitely help out there,” said Marshall.
While Lonquist says this is a step in the right direction, he thinks the district can always do more.
“Rather than just focusing on the trans fats, there’s so many other things that could be improved on.”
Sharp says the district will soon be working with a registered dietitian to make their menus even healthier.
For now, curious parents can log onto the district’s website to get a nutritional break down at each school. You can find those links on our homepage: just click “Quick Clicks.”