Response to Bridging the Gap Studies: Students Like Healthy Food
According to a recent study published by Bridging the Gap in Childhood Obesity, elementary school leaders reported widespread student acceptance of healthier school lunches. This research confirms that once students try healthier school meals, most students like them; and, for the most part, plate waste is no greater than before the updated standards went into place. These are the first national studies to examine students’ perceived reactions to the healthier meals.
For those of us who work at the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, we are thrilled to read the study’s findings. It’s encouraging that school leaders across the country are saying that students like the healthier lunches, and they are not reporting widespread challenges with kids buying or eating the meals. There also seems to be a particular benefit among kids from lower-income families, who may depend more on school meals for their daily nutrients.
The Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Healthy Schools Program reaches more than 14.5 million students in more than 24,000 schools across the nation. The schools we work with are meeting and exceeding federal requirements regarding school meals. Perhaps most important is the fact that students who attend these schools, if given the option to eat healthier foods, are responding by eating them.
I hope that our students’ words and this study’s findings remind us of the important role we all play. If we listen to our students’ pleas for healthy foods and apply what we learn from them to our policies and practices, together, we can win the fight against childhood obesity.