Over the past decade, there has been a marked decline in the health of our children as well as an increase in obesity.
According to the CDC, in 2018, the prevalence of obesity was 19.3% (14.4 million) children and adolescents. As well, obesity percentages increase with age and race.
• Obesity prevalence was 13.4% among 2- to 5-year-olds, 20.3% among 6- to 11-year-olds, and 21.2% among 12- to 19-year-olds. Childhood obesity is also more common among certain populations.
• Obesity prevalence was 25.6% among Hispanic children, 24.2% among non-Hispanic Black children, 16.1% among non-Hispanic White children, and 8.7% among non-Hispanic Asian children.
It’s well documented that obesity puts anyone at a much higher risk for highly preventable diseases. Children are innocent victims with the prevalence of profits over people initiatives by the food industry.
With food manufacturers continuing to produce unhealthy choices for consumers, this has had a major trickle-down impact on the overall school lunch programs throughout the United States.
While many parents are not even aware of how unhealthy the school food programs actually are, one woman who is on a mission to change the way children are fed in schools is Maria Solanki.
Trying a number of ways to have an impact, including completing a 500-page charter school application that took years to completed due to the complexity of the research involved, Maria turned the denial of the application as fuel for her life’s work; improve the food selections within the school system in her area.
From a concerned mother to a political candidate, Maria is merely scratching the surface of the changes she plans to be a part of through her political platform.
A Mother’s Perspective
Maria’s realization that things needed to change was when she gave birth to her daughter eight years ago. It was then that she became vegan realizing a mother is mother is a mother. The animals have as much right to nurture their offspring as we do.
Coming from a family of hunters and butchers, Maria experienced a lot of pushback from her family and friends. Yet, she knew she needed to consider her daughters health from the start.
Two Primary Campaign Focuses
Maria has two primary areas she is focusing on while on the campaign trail.
School choice is a huge platform for Maria.
“I believe just because of a person’s zip code and what house they can afford; they shouldn’t have to go to that school if they want to go to another school. We need to be open to that. In our area, we have 11 of the lowest performing schools, all high minority attendance. And it’s like, what is going on here? We need to help these kids.”
Her other area of focus is nutrition. Without proper nutrition, children are at an incredible disadvantage to learn, be healthy and have the energy to get through the day.
Maria is committed to getting healthy foods into the school system. Currently, there are sugary snack, sodas, and foods that are literally killing them.
Many schools have what is referred to as Pouring Rights. Simply put, “Pouring Rights means the right to make available, sell, dispense and serve beverages at a school, college or university, which right may or may not be to the exclusion of other beverage vendors, and to identify the holder of such right as the “official” provider of such beverage at the school, college or university.”
In other words, schools are profiting from keeping unhealthy foods and snacks in schools.
This is a huge problem in that the corporations win and the children lose at the cost of their health with an increase in children being affiliated with adult onset of diabetes, heart disease, diabetes and other very preventable diseases.
To learn more about Pouring Rights, go to https://rainwaterrunoff.com/as-a-parent-how-much-do-you-know-about-pouring-rights-contracts/
Another uphill climb for people like Maria is that the National School Lunch Program prohibits anyone from discussing or discriminating against the drinking of cow’s milk before school, after school, on school grounds or in any school sponsored event. This is controlled by the USDA.
We simply cannot turn away from this issue any longer. It is literally killing our children.
Maria does not plan to stop with winning a seat on the school board. Moving forward, she is seeking interview opportunities, working with experts in the Plant-Based movement, and being a voice for the health of our children in any way she can.
Maria Solanki is a businesswoman, wife of an immigrant, and a mom of an 8 year-old daughter. As an education and animal rights activist, she promotes school choice around the country to help give children the best quality education possible and has traveled the world spreading these two ideas.
She spent 6 years living in India volunteering with orphanages and an organization that rescued trafficked girls. She educated these girls into starting their own businesses, so they were no longer victims, nor just survivors, but activists who thrived.
Maria has successfully run her own business of teaching swim classes in both Asia and the USA. She does this all while being legally blind. She does not allow her disability to be an inability and tries to share her positivity with others so that no matter what challenges come their way, we always have a choice to live a successful and meaningful life and to help others.