On Thursday CDC (the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) released a report according to which lunch in schools has become healthier. More precisely the level of sodium is down and the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains has increased.
Experts estimate that children from the United States get half of their daily calories from the food which they eat at school. That is why ensuring that school food is healthy could be a huge step in reducing child obesity rates. According to the CDC report more than 60 percent of school districts use low sodium recipes or alternative seasoning.
For the study the research team used information from the School Health Policies and Practices Study (SHPPS) for the years 2000, 2006 and 2014. The scientists looked at how schools implemented practices regarding nutrition standards as provided in 2012 by the United States Department of Agriculture. Schools were required to reduce the amount of sodium and serve more whole grains, fruits and vegetables over a period of ten years.
According to the findings of the study from 2000 to 2014 the number of schools which introduced five of the nine nutrition services practices significantly increased. 97.2 percent of the schools served whole grains for breakfast and 94.4 percent offered whole grains for lunch.
In 2014 79.4 percent of schools offered at least two vegetables at lunch, whereas in 2000 only 61.7 percent did that. And as far as fruits are concerned compared to 2000 when 68.1 percent of schools served at least two fruits in 2014 78 percent of them did that.
The study also indicates that 54.1 percent of schools do not use canned vegetables, but fresh or frozen ones. Also in 2014 51.8 percent of the schools that used canned vegetables used one low in sodium compared to the years 2000 when only 10.3 percent of schools did that. Unlike 2000 when 32.8 percent of schools used other seasoning instead of salt in 2014 the rate increased to 65.1 percent.
The authors also remarked that they found strategies which encourage children to make healthy food choices such as pre-portioned vegetables and fruits that are ready to eat like a cup with fruits or a package of baby carrots.
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