Monday, September 14, 2015

In Schools With Short Lunch Periods, Kids Eat Less, Discard More Food, Study Suggests.

The New York Times (9/11, Bakalar) “Well” blog reported, “In schools with short lunch periods, children eat less and discard more than in schools where they are allowed more time to eat,” according to a study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
        The Los Angeles Times (9/12, Kaplan) “Science Now” blog reported that for the study, researchers analyzed “the eating habits of 1,001 elementary and middle school students in Boston-area schools.”
        HealthDay (9/12, Dallas) reported that kids “with less than 20 minutes for lunch ate 13 percent less of their entrees, 12 percent less of their vegetables, and 10 percent less of their milk than students who had at least 25 minutes to eat.” Youngsters who had “less time to eat were much less likely to select a fruit,” the study also found.
        Medical Daily (9/14, Olson) quotes the study’s lead author, who said in a press release, “Many children, especially those from low-income families, rely on school meals for up to half their daily energy intake.” She added, “It is essential that we give students a sufficient amount of time to eat their lunches.” Healio(9/14) also covers the study.
        WPost: Don’t Scale Back National School Lunch Program’s Nutritional Requirements. In an editorial, theWashington Post (9/14) criticizes the “School Lunch Industrial Complex” for seeking to water down the more stringent nutritional requirements codified by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, saying that the “arguments...don’t add up, and Congress should reject them.” The Post rejects lobbyists’ contentions that “the regulations promote waste because vegetables get discarded, that some healthy-enough dishes have been ruled unacceptable and that the rules will become even more onerous in coming years,” as most of the evidence for these claims is “anecdotal.” In conclusion, the Post argues that “if lawmakers worry that cafeterias can’t meet federal standards under current budget constraints, they should raise the federal reimbursement for school lunches rather than go back to meals more likely to induce obesity and heart problems.”

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