Over the last few years, schools have taken a beating in the public's perception of their food programs. They are more often than not, sited as part of the cause of childhood obesity.
A recent New York Times
article quotes several studies:
In the current issue of The Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior
, researchers compared soda consumption among nearly 500 students in Maine, who attended seven schools over the course of two school years. Four of the schools cut back on their soft drink availability, while three of the schools made no changes.
Notably, all the students were drinking less soda by the end of the study period, but there were no meaningful differences in overall soft drink consumption among the different schools. The data suggests that curbing soft drink availability at school doesn’t result in meaningful changes in children's beverage consumption patterns. While there were no changes in overall soda consumption, there was a notable shift in diet soda drinking among girls. If the school cut back on soda availability, girls were less likely to drink diet soda, compared to girls in schools that made no changes.
This data was the latest to suggest that schools may not play as big of a role in kids’ poor eating habits as widely believed. Last year, The American Journal of Public Health
published a provocative study showing that childhood weight problems often get worse in the summer, when kids are out of school.
What do you think? Are the schools doing enough? And how should parents deal with this serious issue?