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Study Finds that Students Actually Enjoy Healthier Lunches… Yes, Really!

Caitlin Cobb is a Communications Consultant for Kaiser Permanente Community Benefit and a regular contributor to the Thriving Schools blog.
caitlin.cobb@kp.org

Students Showed Initial Resistance to Regulations, but Ultimately Found them Agreeable

The federal government implemented new school-meal regulations in 2012, a move that initially provoked hesitation among students. However, by the end of the school year, students indicated that they enjoyed the meals they were given as part of the new regulations, according to a study.

School meals, which feed more than 30 million children and adolescents each year, play a major role in the diets and health of young people. Accessing school meals can be one of the most effective ways to reach children, who typically consume more sugar, fat and sodium and fewer fruits, vegetables and whole grains than recommended.

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago surveyed administrators at more than 500 primary schools about student reaction to the new meals in the 2012- 2013 school year. They found that70% agreed or strongly agreed that students generally liked the new lunches by the end of the school year. New lunches included more whole grains, vegetables and fruits, and lower fat levels.

The fact that students seem to now be enjoying healthier school meals is a positive and promising step towards healthy eating becoming the standard in the United States for children and adolescents, rather than the exception.

Read the full report on healthy school lunches. The Wall Street Journal also reported on the topic.

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