Navigation Links
Secondary Schools Serve Unhealthy Foods
Date:7/7/2008

U.S. elementary schools have better offerings than high schools, study says

MONDAY, July 7 (HealthDay News) -- The kinds of foods that students can purchase at their public middle schools or high schools are far less healthy than the food available to children attending elementary schools, a new study suggests.

The researchers based their conclusion on a tally of the number of vending machines installed at 395 schools spread across 129 school districts in 38 states, as well as on a nutritional analysis of the kinds of foods stocked in the machines or offered up a la carte in school cafeterias and snack bars.

"The food environment changes as you move from elementary schools to high schools," said study author Daniel M. Finkelstein, a researcher with Mathematica Policy Research, in Cambridge, Mass. "And the main difference between the lower and higher grades was the greater availability of unhealthful foods and beverages for older students."

The findings are reported in the July issue of Pediatrics.

Finkelstein said the purpose of the study was to take a nutritional snapshot of current food offerings in public schools -- not to gauge exactly what students were purchasing or consuming. The research also didn't try to explain what is driving the nutritional shift between the elementary school and the high school level.

The researchers analyzed questionnaires and food checklists completed in 2005 by school principals and food managers as part of the third School Nutrition and Dietary Assessment study. Random on-site food inspections were also done in some schools.

The conclusion: The school "food environment" is significantly healthier in lower grades.

While vending machines were found in just 17 percent of elementary schools, they were found in 82 percent and 97 percent of middle schools and high schools, respectively.

Finkelstein noted that, while vending machines aren't automatic sources of unhealthful foods and drinks, they are -- along with a la carte cafeteria options -- known to be sources of low-nutrient foods. In other words -- junk food.

In fact, the study found that 91 percent of high school vending machines sell at least some unhealthy foods.

The study also found that a la carte food and beverage options were served in 71 percent, 92 percent, and 93 percent of elementary, middle and high schools, respectively. Almost 80 percent of these options were determined to be unhealthful.

In 75 percent of high schools, students weren't allowed to leave campus during lunch. Yet less than half of all the elementary, middle, or high schools surveyed had a "wellness policy" in place, or took advantage of a government-sponsored fruit and vegetable program. And less than 20 percent of schools offered children the option to buy a low-fat lunch, the study found.

But, Alice H. Lichtenstein, director of the Cardiovascular Nutrition Lab at Tufts University's USDA Human Nutrition Research Center in Boston, said the findings need to be put into perspective.

"I think we put an overemphasis on the food students can access in school, because the majority of a teen's waking hours is not spent in school," she said. "But in any case, comparing elementary school children and high school children is comparing apples and oranges. They're two very different groups of students.

"High school students spend a lot more time in school," Lichtenstein added. "And they have more disposable income. So it's not surprising that they're going to be offered more vending machines. So, yes, it would be nice if in all public schools everything in them would be healthy choices. But I'm not sure that this comparison gets at particularly good information."

More information

To learn more about teens and nutrition, visit the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.



SOURCES: Daniel Finkelstein, Ph.D., researcher, Mathematica Policy Research, Cambridge, Mass.; Alice H. Lichtenstein, D.Sc., director, Cardiovascular Nutrition Lab, Gershoff Professor of Nutrition, USDA Human Nutrition Research Center, Tufts University, Boston, and immediate past chair, nutrition committee, American Heart Association; July 2008 Pediatrics


'/>"/>
Copyright©2008 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. 9/11 Counselors at Risk for Secondary Trauma
2. Study: Counseling trauma victims causes secondary trauma
3. Genoptix Announces Pricing of Secondary Public Offering
4. Breast cancer subtypes linked to survival from secondary brain tumors
5. Genoptix Announces Filing of Registration Statement for Secondary Public Offering of Common Stock
6. Kidney Care Community Voices Support for Presidents Proposal to Extend Medicares Secondary Payer (MSP), Urges Administration to Work Closely with Community if Bundled Payment is Implemented
7. Kidney Patient Organizations, Kidney Community Come Out in Support of Medicare Secondary Payer (MSP) Extension
8. Insulet Corporation Announces Pricing of Secondary Public Offering
9. So. Calif. Schools Receive $14,500 From KID HEALTHY -- Steps To Healthy Living Campaign!
10. The Hanover Extends Schools Program, Making the Grade in GA, KS, MD, and VA
11. AMSA PharmFree Scorecard Grades U.S. Medical Schools on Conflict-of-Interest Policies; Only 7 Receive an A
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/26/2017)... ... May 26, 2017 , ... Rob Lowe acts as ... production of the series is on hiking in American. Viewers can reconnect with America ... great benefits of hiking. , Many consumers have looked for an inventive new place ...
(Date:5/26/2017)... ... May 26, 2017 , ... “THE FLINTHILLS FAMILY-Our Journey to the Cross”: the personal journey of ... Cross” is the creation of published authors, Bob and Margaret Massey. Bob Massey is ... is "panther quick and leather tough." His love for others is apparent in all ...
(Date:5/26/2017)... ... ... Jack: Against All Odds”: the story of Coach Cactus Jack and the impact he ... creation of published author, Walter Hubbard, a retired wildlife and fisheries biologist and pharmacy ... Walter and Jane have three adult children and a granddaughter. Walter and ...
(Date:5/24/2017)... ... May 24, 2017 , ... In ... choosing the most appropriate instruments for research and understanding the basic principles that ... webinar will focus on innovations in stereo microscopy for brightfield and fluorescence typically ...
(Date:5/24/2017)... California (PRWEB) , ... May 24, 2017 , ... ... through innovative medical image management and interpretation, has received U.S. Food and Drug ... , Nucleus.io is a web-based, scalable and secure cloud platform for medical image ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/15/2017)... Inc., a privately-held CNS pharmaceutical company based in ... disease (PD), has enrolled the first patient in the RASMET ... study involving patients with PD and taking place at 12 ... period. The first stage is open label and involves single ... Denver , Boca Raton ...
(Date:5/10/2017)... Global Health Intelligence (GHI), the leading healthcare data analytics ... 2017 ranking of the Best-Equipped Hospitals in Latin America ... GHI,s hospitals database for Latin America , which is ... database covers 86% of the hospitals in Latin ... each institution in key areas such as beds, medical specialties, ...
(Date:5/9/2017)... -- Zimmer Biomet Holdings, Inc. (NYSE and SIX: ZBH), ... has earned a spot on Forbes, "America,s ... ranked among 500 U.S. employers as well as in ... Services. The annual Forbes rankings ... of over 30,000 employees across 25 industries. The survey ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: