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Cameras Capture What Children Eat At School

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — How do parents track everything their children are eating in school?  Take a picture of it on a calorie camera.

As Gigi Barnett explains, several schools in Texas already have the federally funded cameras.  Could they make an appearance in Maryland?

A camera that takes a snapshot of exactly what students choose as they go through the cafeteria line may be the newest weapon in the fight against childhood obesity.  When lunch is over, the camera takes another picture of what the kids left behind.  The camera then sends the photos to parents.

Five San Antonio schools are testing the federally funded cameras.  Could it work in Maryland schools?

“If it helps people, I’m for it,” said one.

The camera also calculates the number of calories each student ate.

“I ate a sandwich, a banana, two cookies and chips,” said a student.

School leaders say the photos will help curb childhood obesity and diabetes by showing students how to make healthy choices.  Some parents say the photos could enforce what they’re teaching at home.

“If the kids knew that was going on and that I might be able to see the picture, they might be more motivated,” said a parent.

The calorie cameras cost $2 million.

More from Gigi Barnett
  • amy stout

    instead of spending the millions it would take to implement this, how about schools just serve more nutritious lunches?

    • Fan of Jamie Oliver's "Food Revolution"

      Amen! Ditch the inaccurate nutrition pyramid that controls the school lunches, practice sensible nutrition. And, remove the soda, juice, and junkfood vending machines from schools..

    • lucky me

      II went to my childs school an was surprised at how poor the school lunches are and took notice of the portion size and the quality of the foods our school serves….DISAPPOINTING…..they have some nerve blamming obesity on the parents….hot dogs, chicken nuggets, bread sticks, mozz cheese sticks, cheese burgers and very few vegetables or friuts on the plate, then chips & popcorn or ice pops as extras???? It’s sad to say but the kids get a better, more nutritions meal at a fast food joint…..Plus all that gov. surplus downer meat they serve contain steroids and high volumes of antibiotics…why wouldn’t we have obese children with that poor quality of food I think instead of the gov trying to waste everyones money on cameras, they should invest the money into organic/balanced/healthy/nutritious school lunches and stop trying to take on my parental rights……(THEY SHOULD SWEEP THE DIRT OUT FROM THERE OWN FRONT DOOR BEFORE THEY WORRY ABOUT MINE)

    • T-party Guy in FL

      Amen again. Instead of Big Brother tattle-tail nonsense, just serve good, basic foods.

      Stupid bureaucrats! If you replaced a couple of these jokers with real nutritionists, it would be cheaper for everyone.

  • More Waste in State

    Wow, I didn’t realize MD was doing so well financially that it can afford to have illegal residents pay lower in-state tuition, purchase cameras to monitor kids eating in school, etc. Yet there is not much available for our best and brightest students.

    Will these cameras be placed in the cafeteria buyers’ line, or will it also monitor what kids eat who bring their lunch to school?

  • Doug

    How about raising your children,you non-parents out there.
    Or must the government steer you from cradle to grave.

  • Debbie

    Big Broither is truly watching. It is time the government got out of the business of intruding in everyone’s lives and making decisions for them.
    Maybe they ought to take pictures of what the people who are getting those food stamp cards are buying since that is with government tax payer money and that would be some interesting photos.
    Those of us who are paying our own way and raising our own children don’t need your help. Give it to those who need the government to fund and support them and their children.

    • hiway280z

      What next, camera’s in our homes to see what we eat. No wonder our boarders and country lack protection, Government is to worried what we eat and making sure we only say p.c. things. What a sad country we have become.



    • Mark Richardson

      Excellent point Debbie;
      Did anyone think of just asking the kids what they ate?
      Personally, I am not much in favor of the government watching it’s citizens this closely, how do they tell the kids apart? Is someone sorting the pictures, or did they microchip the kids?
      We used to bring our own lunches, or pay for the school stuff, but at least they used to cook it, and it wasn’t bad, sometimes a deer or moose would be on the menu.
      We will never control our deficit and debt which are a national crises when we have worthless feel-good programs like this springing up everywhere.

  • T

    This is crazy! Talk about micromanaging and wasting money! I wonder how many eating disorders this brilliant idea will cause…..

  • Leovinus

    Reason #7854843593049 to homeschool your kids.

    • Alexander

      I agree 100% I was homeschooled until middle school and then I went to private school till highschool and then when I got here I was like Wow I really miss private school. You might as well not even call America free. People like the parents who cant raise their children and the government who wants to rule all of us are destroying what millions lost their lives for. I love America. I miss her.

      • the friendly grizzly

        “…when I got here I was like Wow…” This is the sort of English you learned with home schooling and a private school? Tsk tsk tsk!

  • Amy

    I am so happy when my daughter eats ANYTHING!! She is SO picky, and very underweight. She won’t eat any of the school food they serve. She is only in kindergarden, but she is so worried about being fat because the school has filled her head up with food lies…not all kids are fat. Not all kids eat or even like junk food, or the poor quality school food that is worse than junk food. I would be happy if my daughter actually ate something like candy or fried french fries! She needs calories!!! I wish people would lay off this food control trip! Let kids eat when they are hungry and play and run and work it off. Quit being a control freak!

  • BobF

    Let’s get our kids used to having their privacy violated as early and as young as possible. That way they won’t notice when all their liberty is gone.

    • Rose Olsski

      You are right BobF. The students will not realize their liberty is disappearing, since it’s disappearing at the public schools. A lot of the do gooder’s are for killing the unborn, so why do they care so? It only makes sense that if they have governement filming them on a day to day basis, inorder for them (in the future) to be OK for the ruling govenment to be “in their life.” I thought it was a power thing, BobF, you cleared the fog!

    • ZorkDude

      WELL PUT BOB !!!

  • Patrick Henry

    Just when I think this state and city can’t get any more stupid, they go and do something like this….AND TOTALLY REVEAL THEMSELVES! Nothing like policing our food. Is there NO privacy anymore? Liberty and freedom is stone cold dead. I’m sending my kid to school with a deep fried lunch. Everything. Including the banana.

  • DJ

    What could possibly go wrong…

  • alpo

    Next will be a camera in the school bathroom to show what your kids eliminated during the day!

  • Fanny Forbes Franklen

    There is nowhere in the constitution for the funding government schools or the incompetents that staff them.

  • rogueoperator

    When it comes to libs, the issue is never the issue. This is just acclimating children to constant surveillance, and making them feel guilty for exercising their choice to eat what they want.

  • RJ

    WOW Get the kids out to play and you wouldn’t have to worry about how much fat they eat, they would be burning it off. No wonder there are more and more and more home schooling. Maybe everyone should just give their kids to the state;i

    • Masquer08er

      We are already there. The state just pays the parents to help them out. Primary caregiver..The State. I have wondered why anyone wants to have a baby so they can leave the baby at day care. Then they are surprised about the way the kid turns out.

  • K. Reux

    As a parent I am completely offended by this blatant intrusion. I have raised two children–one just graduating from college and one going to be a senior in high school. If this were happening in my school I would be at a school board meeting in a heart beat!

    As a parent it is my job to monitor my children’s health–not the state’s nor the school’s. Furthermore monitoring one meal would not be sufficient to change childhood obesity levels. Frankly, if a parent has allowed his or her child to become obese, notifying them of their child’s eating habits for one meal at lunch will make little difference! If they have not helped their children become disciplined thus far, they are not likely to be more motivated with a candid shot of a lunch tray.

    This is an example of wasted taxpayer money and schools being involved in activities that have little to do with education. If they were really serious about what kids ate for lunch then they should not offer varieties. They should serve one menu and a one-sized-portion for all. That would get rid of any need for cameras, reporting, or monitoring.

    What’s next, searching sack lunches and taking pictures of the contents?

    I recognize children do not have full rights as citizens (e.g., freedom of speech is subservient to school discipline and environment)–but this goes far beyond those issues. This has nothing to do with maintaining discipline in the school environment. This is intrusion of the highest order.

  • Joseph Dinyon

    …Because Big Blubber is watching you!

  • Curmudgeon10

    Let me guess — poor parents, who don’t have broad band and/or email, will get a handout to acquire same, so they can get the pictures. Either that or a government funded smart phone.

  • Nikki

    Baltimore better not ask tax payers for one more dime of money after this. This is what happens when you just throw money at schools and expect education to be fixed…they blow it on junk like this.

    Mom and Dad…it’s called a sack lunch and it takes about 5 minutes to make in the morning. I have two kids and they get breakfast at home and sack lunches at school.

  • Mike from Minnesota

    Why not just imprison the little buggers and force feed them a government approved breakfast followed by two hours of HATE BUSH SPEAK followed by an approved lunch followed by mandatory volunteer work and then two hours of LOVE OBAMA then afternoon snack followed by two hours of HATE CHENEY. Finishing up a the day with a song praising OBAMA as their lord and savior. Then after school a mandatory protest against cutting teachers pay.

    • Me

      WAIT … I thought that praising the lord and savior in schools was banned …

      • ha ha

        You mean, someone’s IDEA of a lord and savior? It is…and should be unless you are willing to let your kids pray to someone else’s idea of a lord. You don’t live in a country where one religion (or whatever version of that religion you people can agree on) dictates to whom we worship and how we do it. You don’t live in a country where someone’s idea of perfectly acceptable practices include mutilating a woman’s private parts or forcing them to hide themselves under layers of thick clothing in the dead of summer. Aren’t you glad you live in a country that allows you to pray the way you want to and to whom you want to?

    • Carol

      Mike, without a doubt the funniest and thought-provoking post of all. It was amusing while painting a bold picture of the future. I hope everyone enjoyed it as much as I did.

  • mom

    Instead of spending two million dollars on cameras and calorie calculations, why doesn’t the school spend the money on organic, local, fresh, non-genetically modified, non-processed food with a good balance of protein, carbs, and healthy fats (no trans fats…more omega-3 fats!). The food and food quality that a majority of our public schools feed our children contributes to learning disorders, obesity, and disease.

  • mom

    Instead of spending two million dollars on cameras and calorie calculations, why doesn’t the school spend the money on organic, local, fresh, non-genetically modified, non-processed food with a good balance of protein, carbs, and healthy fats (no trans fats…more omega-3 fats!). The food and food quality that a majority of our public schools feed our children contributes to learning disorders, obesity, and disease. Additionally, I would wager that a majority of children are allergic to many of the ingredients added to school lunch food…it might not create an anaphylactic shock response in the child and cause death that day…but it will slowly kill them. .

    • Masquer08er

      Feed the kids yourself if you are worried. Also, organic food will make you fat, too. I promise no kid got fat eating anybodies school lunches. An allergy can be measured. It is not some mysterious thing. There is a lot of psuedo science on the internet.

  • eatme

    Why don’t these idiots put that money into our education system and teach literacy instead of being so damned worried about what your kids are eating, OR put it towards our Military’s Defense Budget to protect we fatties. Food Police…. How Pathetic. What has become of my Country???? :(

  • alanwillingham

    What next? Follow the children into the bathroom to analyze whether what came out equates to what they thought went in?

    How about putting cameras in the teacher’s lounge and the principle’s office so we can see if they are luring children in there for sex?

  • Brett

    Let’s start streaming video of what goes on in the class rooms. Then maybe teacher will feel compelled to teach and students to learn.

  • Masquer08er

    How about a camera in the classroom to see what’s going on there? See how this NCLB is working for you.

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