Archive for School nutrition

President’s Daughters Urged to Join Effort to Improve Nutrition Value of School Lunches

Sasha and Malia were asked to visit Congress to lobby for changing the Child Nutrition Act to increase the availability of fresh produce in school meals.

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Harkin and Murkowski want to expel junk food from U.S. schools

U.S. schools with vending machines that sell candy and soda to students could soon find the government requiring healthier options to combat childhood obesity under a bill introduced on Thursday by two senators. While school meals must comply with U.S. dietary guidelines, there are no such rules on snacks sold outside of school lunchrooms. Many are high in fat, sugar and calories.

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School obesity program shows some benefits

An obesity-prevention program tested in several Dutch schools was able to cut down teenagers’ consumption of sugary sodas and curb body-fat gain. The DOiT program aimed to boost students’ exercise levels, steer them away from junk food and sugar-sweetened drinks.

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Childhood obesity prevention study

3135 boys and girls in grades 1-4 were included in this new Swedish study. Low-fat dairy products and whole-grain bread were promoted and all sweets and sweetened drinks were eliminated in intervention schools. Physical activity (PA) was aimed to increase by 30 min per day during school time and sedentary behaviour restricted during after school care time. PA was measured by accelerometry. No weight difference between intervention and controls was found after cluster adjustment. However, a larger proportion of the children who were initially overweight reached normal weight in the intervention group (14%) compared with the control group (7.5%). PA did not differ between intervention and control schools after cluster adjustment.

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Food Environments in University Dorms 20,000 Calories per Dorm Room and Counting

100 dormitory-residing students were recruited from a large, public university. Research staff completed a detailed inventory of food and beverages in the dorm rooms, including nutrient contents and purchasing sources. The mean number of food and beverage items per participant was 47, with 4% of participants not having any food or beverages. More than 70% of students had each of the following types of items: salty snacks, cereal or granola bars, main dishes, desserts or candy, and sugar-sweetened beverages. The average number of calories per dorm room was 22,888. Obesity prevention efforts are needed, and improving the various facets of campus food environments may mark an important component of such strategies.

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Environmental interventions for eating and physical activity in middle schools

Environmental and policy interventions were effective in increasing physical activity at school among boys but not girls. The interventions were not effective in reducing fat intake at school. School environmental and policy interventions have the potential to improve health behavior of the student population, but barriers to full implementation need to be better understood and overcome.

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School meals: types of foods offered to and consumed by US children at lunch and breakfast

This article describes foods offered in school meals and consumed by children at lunch and breakfast, and differences in foods consumed by children who did and did not participate in the school meal programs. Consumption of school meals is positively related to children’s intakes of key food groups at lunch and breakfast. Offering more fresh fruit, whole grains, and a greater variety of vegetables could lead to additional health benefits.

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Community Perspectives on Obesity Prevention in Children: Summary of an IMO Workshop

The Institute of Medicine conducted a workshop in June 2008 about community perspectives on childhood obesity prevention. This workshop featured site-leaders and evaluators representing different locally-based childhood obesity prevention programs. This 31 page paper documents their discussion about the challenges and promising approaches for evaluating and acting on complex policy and programmatic interventions to prevent obesity and its health consequences.

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School-Based Interventions for Health Promotion and Weight Control: Not Just Waiting on the World to Change

This review by David Katz of 64 relevant papers, of which 21 papers representing 19 distinct studies met quality criteria; half of these were published since 2000. They clearly demonstrated that school-based interventions had significant effects on weight. Thus available research evidence does present a case for school-based interventions. Despite the fact that such evidence is limited to date, the urgency of the obesity and diabetes epidemics cries out for action. Intervention is warranted on the basis of both extant evidence and common sense, with methodologically robust evaluation concomitantly to test our assumptions and verify our intuition.

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Creating healthy food and eating environments: policy and environmental approaches

Environmental and policy interventions may be among the most effective strategies for creating population-wide improvements in eating. This review describes an ecological framework for conceptualizing the many food environments and conditions that influence food choices, with an emphasis on current knowledge regarding the home, child care, school, work site, retail store, and restaurant settings. The need for action to improve health are highlighted.

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