Newsflash!: School Lunch Laws Lead To Healthier KidsSerge Bielanko
A new study seems to indicate that school lunches in states with tougher standards and guidelines really are healthier.
According to an article in today’s New York Times, the research results published in the Pediatrics journal were based on a three-year study of “weight changes for 6,300 students in 40 states between 2004 and 2007, following them from fifth to eighth grade.”
Comparing schools in various states, some where there are laws that seriously monitor and control what exactly can and cannot be served to students at lunch, and some where there are only loose ‘recommendations’ in place; researchers stopped short of claiming outright that states with lunch laws were the ones with healthier children.
But the writing is on the wall.
The New York Times piece notes that the study “… found that obese fifth graders who lived in states with stronger laws were more likely to reach a healthy weight by the eighth grade than those living in states with no laws.”
However, when there was only a minimum of laws or regulations to help provide guidance for school lunch programs, students “… had weight gains that were not different from those of students in states with no laws at all.”
In other words, there is a significant difference in the obesity levels between children who are allowed to purchase sugary drinks/potato chips/candy bars/etc. as opposed to kids who are not permitted access to junk foods and drinks at lunch during the school week.
One problem, the New York Times points out, is that there are still many, many more states that have minimal or no laws and regulations for school lunches.
With the results of the study now hitting the wires, it would seem that the question/debate of whether some national guidelines might serve everyone’s best interest would be a timely one to address.
Info: The New York Times