School Food & Food Education In The News

School Food & Food Education In The News

Fri 29 Jun 2012

Story by The Food Revolution Team

Although summer is here and school is out for many kids, school food is still a hot topic! Here’s a roundup of some of the school food studies and conversations making headlines this week.

Kids Who Cook Are Hungrier For Healthy Food Choices

A study carried out of Grade 5 students in Alberta Canada shows just how important food education is and exactly why we need to bring back food education in schools – kids who learn to cook, have better diets.
The study, published by Public Health Nutrition, surveyed students in 151 schools in Alberta to find out about kids’ experiences with cooking and food choices finding that not only are do kids who learn to cook and do meal prep at home were more confident about the importance of making healthier food choices.

While the results show the importance of food education and cooking in the home, they also show how vital food education in school is as a health promotion strategy.

According to lead author Yen Li Chu "You can go into schools and have cooking classes and cooking clubs to help them boost their fruit and vegetable intake and make healthier choices".

Find out more about the study here.

School Nutrition Progams Should Involve Teachers, Staff & Parents

A study by Kaiser Permanente has reported that programs to promote healthy eating can substantially reduce the amount of unhealthy foods and beverages on school grounds if the programs focus on a school’s specific needs and involve teachers, parents, staff and administrators.

The Healthy Options for Nutrition Environments in Schools (Healthy ONES) study used a public health approach to change nutrition environments and policies in eight elementary and middle schools over a three-year period, finding that a more participatory public health approach decreased by the amount of unhealthy foods and beverages in intervention schools by 30%. In comparison, control schools (with no intervention) had a 26% increase in these items.

This study reinforces the latest recommendations on obesity prevention from the Institute of Medicine that state schools should be "the heart of health." The report identifies school-based interventions as among the most promising to prevent childhood obesity and underscores the need to implement policies that change food environments within schools.

Read more here.

School Budgets, Student Health to Benefit from Higher Nutrition Standards

According to a healthy impact assessment (HIA) by the Kids’ Safe & Healthful Food (KSHF) project and the Health Impact project, updating national nutrition standards for snack foods and beverages sold in schools (competitive foods) could help students maintain a healthy weight and increase food service revenue.

The study reports that all children would benefit from new nutrition guidelines for snack foods sold in schools, particularly those in vulnerable populations – as students from low-income families who participate in free and reduced-priced meal programs would be more likely to buy healthier foods after implementation of the guidelines.

These findings come as following the new school lunch standards released earlier in the year; the USDA is preparing to release regulations for ‘competitive’ foods. Competitive foods include food sold in vending machines, school stores, a la carte lines and potentially school fundraisers.

“Implementing strong national nutrition standards to make the snacks and beverages our children consume healthier is something that schools and districts can afford. The USDA should do all it can to finalize and help implement strong standards.” - Jessica Donze Black, director of the Kids’ Safe & Healthful Foods Project.

Find out more here.

In others news this week…

Is Pink Milk the next ‘Pink Slime’?
– Should schools really be serving sugary flavored milk up to twice a day? Check out our Flavored Milk HQ to find out more and take action!

While some kids cereals are getting healthier, the Yale Rudd Center has reported that only 3 out of 43 tested met Oxford Criteria for healthy products. Additionally, since 2008 cereal companies have increased advertising to children for many of their least nutritious products. Find out more in their Cereal Facts Report.

We want to hear your views!

What do you think about the role schools play in reducing the obesity epidemic? Does your school teach food and nutrition education? Let us know by posting on the Food Revolution Community on facebook and be a part of the #foodrevolution conversation with @foodrev on twitter!

The Food Revolution Team


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