Earth Eats: Real Food, Green Living

Camera Tracks School Children’s Calories

Five San Antonio elementary schools have unveiled new "calorie cams" to see how many calories their children are consuming.

Baby Being Video Taped

Photo: Ben McLeod (flickr)

The cameras are only supposed to take pictures of the lunch trays, not the students.

It’s like a mixture of candid camera and big brother, but this time it’s being used on your kids.

Say Cheese

Last week, Texas health officials unveiled a new $2 million project to see how many calories elementary school children consume at lunch.

Each student will have a bar code on the tray to identify them. Kids will pick out food and as they’re paying for it a camera will take a picture of all the items they selected.

After students are finished ready to dump they’re trash, another camera will take a picture of the food they have left on their tray.

The computer program will then identify the foods by measuring size, shape, color and density and comparing them to a database of 7,500 foods. The calculated calories consumed and the values of 128 other nutrients (fiber, fat, sugar, protein, etc.) will then be sent to the parents.

Eye Spy?

The cameras, about the size of a pocket flashlight, are only supposed to take pictures of the trays, not the students. 90 percent of parents at the school gave permission for their child’s meal to be observed, and the kids know that they are being photographed.

What do you think?

Is this considered spying? Should schools be tracking what children eat? Let us know what you think.

Read More:

  • Texas ‘Calorie Camera’ Will Track How Much Students Eat (Huffington Post)
  • In Texas schools, a picture’s worth 1,000 calories (Yahoo News)
  • Cafeteria Cams Track Students’ Calorie Consumption at School (TIME)
Katie Dawson

Katie Dawson is a sophomore at IU majoring in journalism and Spanish. Currently she lives in Bloomington, IN but is originally from Indianapolis. She enjoys cooking, eating and sometimes exercising.

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