Students likely to snack in school
Research from USDA shows that, during a typical school day, four in 10 students purchase and consume snack foods or beverages. Data from Bridging the Gap, a research program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, show that such foods are often unhealthy because they are high in fat, sodium, and calories. Despite increasing national attention to the issue of childhood obesity, students’ access to snack foods and beverages has increased over the past decade. According to USDA, the availability of vending machines in middle schools has more than doubled since the 1990s, and another study found that, as recently as the 2009-2010 school year, nearly half of the nation’s elementary school students could buy unhealthy snack foods at school.
“Children eat a significant amount of their daily calories during the school day, so it is essential that all foods and drinks available in school contribute to a nutritious diet,” said Dr. Robert W. Block, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics. “Strong nutrition standards will make significant improvements in the health of all our nation’s children. We all benefit if kids stay healthy, because over the long-term, healthier kids mean lower health care costs and increased productivity.”
Additional results from the poll released today, conducted by the bipartisan team of Hart Research Associates and American Viewpoint, show:
• Eighty-one percent of voters are concerned about the issue of childhood obesity, including more than half (54 percent) who say they are very concerned.
When asked about the healthfulness and nutritional value of food sold in schools:
• Eighty-three percent of voters said they think that food sold in school vending machines is not really healthy/nutritious or only somewhat healthy/nutritious, compared with just 5 percent who think that vending machine food is totally/mostly healthy and nutritious.
• Sixty-eight percent of voters said they think that food sold in cafeteria à la carte lines is not really healthy/nutritious or only somewhat healthy/ nutritious, compared with 21 percent who think that it is totally/mostly healthy and nutritious.
• Sixty-eight percent of voters said they think that food sold in school stores is not really healthy/nutritious or only somewhat healthy/nutritious, compared with 10 percent who think that it is totally/mostly healthy and nutritious.