Can School Lunches Cause Obesity?

A recent study found that children who regularly ate school lunches were 29 percent more likely to be obese than their peers who brought lunch from home.

By Reader's Digest Editors

A recent study found that children who regularly ate school lunches were 29 percent more likely to be obese than their peers who brought lunch from home.

According to WhatsForLunchNYC.com, a New York City-based website dedicated to overhauling the city’s lunch system, school lunches are in dire need of a health makeover:

In a typical week, elementary school menus include chicken tenders, cheeseburgers, and ‘Pizza Fridays,’ with sides of cheesy rotini, mozzarella sticks or French fries. A healthy meal can be hard for students to come by in a public school cafeteria, and is especially challenging for school systems to provide.

While many school districts are working to revamp their lunchroom meals, the fact is that most school lunches are not prepared from scratch and don’t use fresh fruits and vegetables; rather they are prepared with a “heat and serve” mentality. Ann Cooper and Lisa M. Holmes state in their 2006 book, Lunch Lessons, “French fries account for 46 percent of vegetable servings eaten by children ages 2 to 19” across the nation.

Though giving your child lunch money may be easier than preparing a lunch, if you plan ahead and take the time to make lunch, you may be helping your child battle future weight issues. Check out our 9 school lunch ideas for inspiration.

Source: The New York Times, WhatsForLunchNYC.com

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