Report: Healthy Lunch Options, Exercise Lag For Minorities
Ann Arbor, MI – A major new study finds that U.S. public secondary schools are making an effort to offer students healthier options in the cafeteria. Through the National School Lunch Program, most schools provide fruits and vegetables, more are offering whole grains and fewer are serving french fries. However, pizza, high-fat milk, junk food and sugary drinks are still widely available through the federal program.
The report also shows that schools have made little progress in helping students be active during and after the school day.
Key findings from the 2007–08 school year include:
More than one-half of secondary students had access to snacks like candy, chips, cookies and ice cream through the National School Lunch Program.
Sugar-sweetened beverages were available to 71% of middle school and 92% of high school students in vending machines, à la carte lines, stores or snack bars on campus.
PE was required for some part of the school year for 83% of middle school and only 35% of high school students.
Participation in interscholastic and intramural physical activity programs was low, especially among students at less affluent schools and schools that had a majority Black or Latino student body.
Disparities in health-related policies and practices attributed to the socioeconomic, racial and ethnic make-up of the student body also are highlighted. Results were based on surveys of school administrators during the 2006–07 and 2007–08 school years.
Full text from School Policies and Practices to Improve Health and Prevent Obesity: National Secondary School Survey Results is available HERE.
An accompanying report on elementary schools is also availableHERE.