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Childhood Obesity Linked To School Lunches

A new study conducted in Michigan schools has found that school lunches are a risk factor for childhood obesity.


Photo: bookgrl (flickr)

Kids who ate school lunches like this one regularly were 29 percent more likely to be obese than those who brought their lunch from home.

A study found that more than one in three middle school students who regularly eat school lunches are obese or overweight.

A study of more than 1,000 sixth graders in several schools in Michigan found that those who ate the school lunch regularly were 29 percent more likely to be obese than those who brought their lunch from home.

The sixth graders filled out questionnaires asking what they ate, how much physical activity they got, and the number of hours they watched TV, played video games and spent on the computer each day.

High Energy, Low Nutrient

“Most school lunches rely heavily on high-energy, low-nutrient-value food, because it’s cheaper,” said Dr. Kim A. Eagle, director of the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center. In some schools where the study was done, lunch programs offered specials like “Tater Tot Day.”

Kids who ate school lunches:

  • Were 38.2 percent more likely to be overweight or obese
  • Were 19 percent more likely to have two or more sugary drinks per day
  • Were 39.9 percent less likely to eat at least two servings of vegetables per day
  • Had overall higher levels of “bad” cholesterol

Help Is On The Way

Under a federal law passed in December, Department of Agriculture guidelines are supposed to limit the number of calories served in school lunches and will require programs to offer a broad variety of fruits and vegetables.

Read More:

  • Childhood: Obesity and School Lunches (NYTimes)
  • School Lunches Linked to Kid’s Obesity (WebMD)
Katie Dawson

Katie Dawson is a sophomore at IU majoring in journalism and Spanish. Currently she lives in Bloomington, IN but is originally from Indianapolis. She enjoys cooking, eating and sometimes exercising.

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  • Mary Barkley

    There is not enough lettuce on this plate to feed a bunny! More reason to have kids take ther own meal and control their destiny. Spinach strawberry salad with goat cheese and slivered almonds, anyone?

  • Mike Lieberman

    Add to the fact that most physical education programs are getting cut and the results are compounded. The education system needs to be ripped down and built back up.

  • fujiduji

    I feel like this trend results from the parents not putting in the effort to ensure that their kids eat well at home and at school. If a mom or dad is not willing to take the time to pack a homemade lunch for their child, then they are probably more likely to not provide a nutritious breakfast or dinner either. We should not jump to the conclusion that the blame should fall on the school lunches.

  • Anonymous

    Awesome tips. This is a very healthy diet meal. repair credit score

  • Anonymous

    Awesome tips. This is a very healthy diet meal. repair credit score

  • Company Registry Hong Kong

    I made this last night and it was sooooo good! Thanks for the recipe!

  • Julia Dat

    This is just bad science:correlation doesn’t mean causation. School lunches are mostly eaten by poorer kids, poverty and obesity are linked.

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