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

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: [pull_quote]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.[/pull_quote]

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

Originally Published in Reader's Digest

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