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School lunches: Are policy changes making a positive impact?

As part of the nation’s continued effort to address childhood obesity, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) implemented the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act in 2012 to improve the nutritional quality of lunches served at schools. But has this policy change made an impact? According to a study published this month in JAMA Pediatrics, it has.

Researchers examined and calculated the nutritional quality of school lunches in several schools in the state of Washington, tracking information on lunch quality one year prior to implementation of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act and one year after implementation. The results were clear: students consumed significantly fewer calories in school lunches and significantly more essential nutrients after the implementation of the USDA’s policy.

In a 2014 NPCH Report, parents gave their children’s schools a grade for their efforts to address childhood obesity. Among parents with an overweight child, 9% gave schools failing grades (D or F) for providing healthy school lunches and 20% said schools are failing at nutrition education. Read the full report - Fighting childhood obesity: Are schools passing or failing?

Percentage of parents who give failing grades to their kids' schools for efforts to fight childhood obesity

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What do you think?
Are schools doing enough to provide healthy lunches for kids? How would you grade the lunches at your child’s school? Share your thoughts in the comments or on Facebook and Twitter @MottNPCH.