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Healthy School Lunches Lead To Healthier Eating, Study Finds

The new research lends empirical support to state-mandated fruit and veggie minimums.

Apples in a bowl

Photo: Moyan Brenn (flickr)

According to a 2005 study conducted by the World Health Organization, 1.8 percent of the planet's disease burden is due to insufficient fruit and vegetable intake.

While healthy school lunches are by no means a magic bullet in combating childhood obesity, a recent study has found that increased offerings of fruits and vegetables at school do make a measurable difference in kids’ consumption of these foods.

To gauge the effectiveness of government rules regarding the of the contents of school lunches, researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago tracked the eating habits of 9,574 students in 27 states.

What they found is that students who lived in states requiring a minimum number of fruit and vegetable servings in school lunches consumed significantly more fruit and vegetables than students in other states.

The difference was especially pronounced for kids who lacked access to fruits and vegetables at home.

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Liz Leslie

Liz Leslie is a journalist based in Chicago. When she's not writing about food, she's likely eating food. Or dreaming about food.

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