State Laws Aimed at Improving School Meals Help Teens Eat More Fruits and Vegetables, New Study Finds
Policy-makers recently have focused on increasing the availability of fruits and vegetables in school lunch programs to promote nutrition and reduce obesity in school-age children.
These University of Illinois at Chicago researchers investigated whether state laws requiring a minimum number of fruits and vegetables (FV) in school meals increased FV consumption in school and at home.
They analyzed dietary intake at home and school for 9,574 students in grades 9–12 in 27 states using National Youth Physical Activity and Nutrition Study data. Only California and Mississippi required a minimum number of FV in school meals (2009–10).
“School-based nutrition laws may mitigate the disadvantages that some teenagers face at home,” these researchers write, “but they are unlikely to negate the complex physical, social, and economic deterrents to healthy eating without help from other public and private sectors.”