Posts Tagged “nutrition standards”
Looking for patterns in food consumption among elementary school children, researchers at Texas A&M University found something interesting about when and why kids choose to eat their vegetables. After analyzing plate waste data from nearly 8,500 students, it appears there is at least one variable tending to affect whether kids eat their broccoli, spinach or green beans more than anything: what else is on the plate.
In short, kids, are much more likely to eat their vegetable portion when it’s paired with a food that isn’t so delicious it gets all the attention. When chicken nuggets and burgers, the most popular items among schoolchildren, are on the menu, for instance, vegetable waste tends to rise significantly. When other less-beloved foods, like deli sliders or baked potatoes, are served, the opposite seems to happen.
The problem has been blamed, at least in part, for the deteriorating diets of American youth. It has also been on clear display ever since the government updated, in 2013, its nutrition standards for the National School Lunch Program. Children, suddenly confronted with vegetables on every plate (as required as part of the change), have responded not by eating them, but by leaving them on their plates — untouched.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says nine out of 10 children still don’t eat enough vegetables.
WASHINGTON, DC – United Fresh President & CEO Tom Stenzel issued this statement in response to a national poll of parents’ opinions of school lunch standards released today by The Pew Charitable Trusts, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the American Heart Association.
Parents nationwide want their children to have healthier meals and snacks at school, according to the poll. An overwhelming 91 percent of parents support requiring schools to include a serving of fruits and vegetables with every meal and more than 72 percent of parents support national nutrition standards for school meals and snacks sold in schools.
This new national poll underscores the strong support by parents for the new healthier school meal standards that require more fresh fruits and vegetables. Their voice joins public health authorities, the National PTA, teachers and others in their steadfast support for healthier school foods.
The childhood obesity crisis is real – with early onset of diabetes and the enormous burden of healthcare costs on society. Moms and dads know the challenge of helping our kids’ make healthier choices – but we don’t opt out of trying. We put our kids’ health first and Congress must continue to do the same. There can be no going back to water down the modest requirement that children take at least one-half cup of fruit or vegetable at breakfast and lunch. Instead, we should be looking for ways to reach our public health goal of half the plate being fruits and vegetables, not just half a cup.
The national poll was commissioned by The Pew Charitable Trusts, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the American Heart Association and was conducted by Hart Research Associates and Ferguson Research between June 19 and 28, 2014 among registered voters who are parents of public school children.
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