Skip Navigation Bar
Banner with the words The Art of Medicine at the 21st Century.

A color ink drawing of a cafeteria with children holding trays on one side of the serving line and servers on the other. An adult stands in the middle of the cafeteria watching.

'780 Children Have Lunch Within the Hour'
(ink drawing with tepera, 36' x 43')
©May H. Lesser

A "Heart Smart" Program at a poor elementary school where the thrust is on prevention and education about proper food, exercise and rest to promote cardiovascular health. 780 children get a federally funded free lunch, and half also come for a free breakfast. Eating is very serious. No child, even the smallest, drops a tray and all trays are returned to the kitchen with empty plates. The cafeteria is quiet and it seems to me unnatural. There is not the ordinary playing around, the jostling or socializing that I would expect among children. The program works with the school nurse and cafeteria manager to give the children low fat and salt lunches with fruit and vegetables to encourage health food choices. At gym, the jump ropes are the only equipment. Jumping and running are the exercises. But what those children can do with the jumping ropes! There are no guns on the school grounds, which reduces tension and fear and the children bring home their lessons about food and teach the parents. A small step toward a healthy future, and a "big step" for mankind's health budget.