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Schools still don't get A's for nutritious school lunch programs

Posted on Apr 03, 2009 by Maggie LaBarbera

According to a School Nutrition Dietary Assessment, school lunch programs are still not up to par when it comes to nutrition.  The Assessment evaluated 130 school districts across the United States which included 2,314 students in first through twelfth grade.

The study found:

  • more than 70% of the schools served meals that met the standard for protein, vitamin A and C, calcium and iron  (this is good!)
  • But only 6-7% of subsidized meals met all the nutritional standards.
  • Most subsidized school lunches had too much saturated fat (not good for the heart)
  • About 42% of the schools in the survey did not offer any fresh fruit or raw vegetables
  • Foods offered in vending machines were high in calories and low in nutrients
The problem with these studies of course is that they are not done in real time.  The study is from data taken in 2004 to 2005 school year.

With all the focus on childhood obesity and the lack of nutrition in over 80% of our children's diet, we hope that school meals have improved since this survey.  But with studies coming out 4 years later, it is hard to tell and meanwhile, kids need good nutrition now while they are growing.

So what can we do as parents.  No easy answer but a common one.  Good nutrition habits really start at home and learned from the greatest advertisement and role model kids have...their parents.

Here are some questions to ask:  Do you know what your child is served in the school cafeteria?  What is their vending machine policy?  Does your school have a Wellness Policy? Food for thought...

To read about the study published in Journal of the American Dietitic Association, click here.



1 Comment

Raine Saunders
Thursday, Apr 16, 2009 @ 07:55 AM

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I've been working on the school lunch program here in my city (Boise), and we brought a film here last year called Two Angry Moms. This is an eye-opening documentary of what goes on in the school lunch programs across America and how school lunches are contributing to obesity, diabetes, and other degenerative diseases in our children. For more information, visit Bring this film to your city, take action, and make your school lunch program what it should be - sourcing foods from local, organic sources that raise healthy food for our children - grass-fed meats and poultry, traditional whole foods, organic fruits and vegetables, and elimination of processed foods from the lunch room. -Raine Saunders

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