Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Young kids may choose "healthy" food, but do they eat it

I try to stay away from politics on this site (I have other places for that), but our present administration is fixated on controlling kids' diet at school.

And now, a Johns Hopkins Bloomberg Public Health Study of 274 K-2nd grade NY public school kids. At one chicken and veggie entree day, they watched to see if the kids chose a fruit, a veggie, whole grain bread, or low fat milk.

Seventy-five percent chose the lean entree. Only 58% grabbed a piece of fruit. Fifty-nine percent took a veggie.

But--sadly--only 75% even took a bite of the entree, and 25% ate a morsel of the veggie.

Inerestingly, the kids were more likely to finish their food if a teacher ate in the cafeteria with them. More ate fruit and veggies if the atmosphere was quiet.  Also, food cut in smaller pieces was more likely to be consumed.

If lunch hours are too short, noisy, and distracting, little kids may pick or rush off.

I also venture to think that soggy, steam table veggies may not be appealing or even taste bitter. Apples may be hard to eat with teeth missing. That sort of thing.

I know some of the admin programs have drawn complaints that calorie counts are too low for kids with athletics after school and that kids toss a lot of the food.

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