COPY-Obesity Fight Comes Down To Three Ounces - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

8/19/04-Longview

COPY-Obesity Fight Comes Down To Three Ounces

The state's battle to lower the obesity rate has come down to 3 ounces.

A new policy requires public school cafeteria workers to serve only 3 ounces of french fries to each student at lunch.

"We don't go over," Patty Branch, a cafeteria worker at Pine Tree High School in Longview, said. "They'll get 3 ounces or less."

Branch weighs every serving of french fries.

"Once you get a few of them down, you can get pretty close, but I like to check mine because, like I said, it's not worth my job," she said.

But it's precisely this weight-checking that's getting students upset.

"When you're waiting in line and you're at the end of the line, and you have to wait for your tater tots to be weighed," Lauren Nichols, a junior, said in frustration.

The school tells students to report all complaints to the state commissioner who passed the new rule, Susan Combs. One student already did.

"The prices have gone up, and they're giving us less food," Scott Holloway, a junior who called the Department of Agriculture this week, said.

Some students suggested alternatives to weighing each serving of fries.

"Maybe if they preset them and keep them on warmers," Holloway said.

"They should be able to guess around how much they think it is," Kristen Jones, another junior, said.

But it's not just how the rule is being enforced; it's the rule itself that students are against.

"I think it's too late to change our eating habits because we're like 16, 16 years old and older, and we're going to eat what we want," Jones said. "So I don't think they should start limiting it now. They should start limiting it like with younger kids, if they want to change America's obesity problem."

Elementary and middle school students are also limited to 3 ounces.

How much is 3 ounces anyway? It's about 12 full-length french fries. Just adding a couple more already makes it go over the weight limit.

"You can't get extra fries, sweetie," Branch told one student in the lunch line.

If a school district does not follow the 3-ounce rule for french fry servings, the state can take away up to several thousand dollars in funding.

Julie Tam, reporting.

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