Re "Young Kids, Large Problem," editorial, Dec. 25: I agree that about a quarter of our schoolchildren are overweight (in my third-grade class, four of 20 students are overweight -- 20%). Part of the problem is not simply that the lunches in the schools are too fatty and sugary but that some students come each day with extra junk food to supplement their free meals or with money to buy snacks at recess or something extra at lunch.
Regarding exercise, although it is true that the parks and neighborhoods aren't always safe, most schools have supervised after-school activities on the yard. Unfortunately, these programs don't provide serious physical education such as gymnastics, organized aerobic activities or even team sports.
Teachers in the elementary grades lack the training and facilities to undertake more than organized team games such as kickball, handball and dodge ball, all of which provide limited amounts of exercise. In order to provide comprehensive physical education, specially trained physical education teachers and proper facilities are needed.
Wouldn't it be great if the free lunch program could be tightened and scaled back, and the money saved be used to develop serious PE programs in the schools? Dream on!