Why anyone would be opposed to giving healthy food to kids in schools is beyond me, but school food is a flash point for political fights.
Sometimes research helps. Two recent studies produce results that can be used to counter criticisms of government school meal programs.
Kids are eating more healthfully than they used to, according to a research study funded by the Department of Health and Human Services and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The study concludes:
Food policy in the form of improved nutrition standards was associated with the selection of foods that are higher in nutrients that are of importance in adolescence and lower in energy density. Implementation of the new meal standards was not associated with a negative effect on student meal participation. In this district, meal standards effectively changed the quality of foods selected by children.
This is excellent news for proponents of better school food. USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack issued a statement:
This study is the latest in a long list of evidence which shows that stronger school meal standards are leading to healthier habits in schools. Children are eating more fruits and vegetables and consuming more nutrients, making them better prepared to learn and succeed in the classroom. After decades of a growing obesity epidemic that harmed the health and future of our children and cost our country billions, we are starting to see progress in preventing this diseas…