High-tech cameras installed in San Antonio, Texas elementary school lunchrooms will be photographing what food students pile onto their trays and what they don’t finish eating.
According to CBS News, digital imaging analysis of the snapshots will then calculate how many calories each student scarfed down. Local health officials said the program, funded by a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant, is the first of its kind in a U.S. school and will be so precise that the technology can identify a half-eaten pear left on a lunch tray.
A $2 Million Project To Film Elementary School Lunchrooms
That’s the idea behind this $2 million project, funded from a grant from the USDA which will fund the study for four years. Five San Antonio elementary schools will take part in the program. Researchers selected poor, minority campuses where obesity rates and students at risk for diabetes are higher.
Parents To Receive Regular Reports On What Their Kids Are Eating
From Fox News:
“This is very sophisticated,” said Dr. Roberto Trevino, director of the San Antonio-based Social & Health Research Center, which will oversee the program.
Parents will be required to give consent for their children to participate, and receive regular reports showing what foods their kids are filling up on at lunch. Trevino said only the trays, and not students, will be photographed.
Here’s how it works: students are assigned lunch trays with a unique bar code. After the children load up their plates down the line — mashed potatoes or green beans? french fries or fruit? — a camera above the cashier takes a picture of each tray.
When lunch is over and the kids return their plates to the kitchen, another camera takes a snapshot of what’s left on the tray. Software then analyzes the before and after photos to calculate calories consumed and, according to Trevino, a report of nutrients in the foods.
A $2 Million Project To Make Movies Of Kids’ Lunchtime Habits?
Researchers are hoping that parents will change eating habits at home once they see what their kids are choosing in schools. The data also will be used to study what foods children are likely to choose and how much of it they’re eating.
Certainly, the idea of changing eating habits for the better is a good one, but a $2 million project to make movies of what kids eat at school?
Is This A Good Use Of Taxpayer Dollars?
What do you think? Is this just a colossal waste of dollars? Or a good way to raise awareness of the importance of good nutrition habits?
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