Nutritional school lunches on the rise, study finds
A new study has found an increase in nutritional school lunches and other meals since the implementation Michelle Obama’s Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, according to the Christian Science Monitor.
In 2012 when the healthier food standards were implemented, naysayers voiced concern that fewer students would eat the school lunch. A new study has dismantled those ideas and found that meals have become more nutritionally wholesome and students are still eating them.
The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA) was signed into law in 2010 and it called for larger portions of whole grains, vegetables and fruits. The nutritional school lunches also saw a reduction in calories found in lunches and breakfasts served at school.
Nutritional school lunches being eaten, too
In a report published earlier this month in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, a study from the University of Washington Nutritional Sciences Program found that the new, healthier meal standards have really impacted the quality of meals served at schools.
The scientists compared data collected in the 16 months before the standards went into effect with data collected in the 15 months after the implementation of the new standards. They examined the nutritional value of 1.7 million school meals that were picked out by 7,200 kids from an urban area in Washington. The findings showed that the presence of six nutrients went up: iron, protein, fiber, calcium, Vitamin A, and Vitamin C.
The researchers write that these changes can be attributed primarily to the increased servings of fruits and vegetables in the nutritional school lunch standards.
Donna B. Johnson, lead author and a professor at the University of Washington, admits limits in their research and includes the fact that the study analyzed food that students chose, not what they consumed. She points out that plate waste has not risen since the changes of HHFKA took place — a huge finding that contradicts those who say school lunches are simply not being eaten as a result of HHFKA.
Other data is expected to come forward in the next year to confirm or negate this study’s findings on nutrition progress.