Efforts to promote healthy eating in and outside of school are seeing results. A new Harvard School of Public Health study reports that kids are eating more fruits and veggies. New federal standards requiring schools to offer healthier meals have led to increased fruit and vegetable consumption.
Also, the new standards did not result in increased food waste, contradicting anecdotal reports from food service directors, teachers, parents, and students. However, high levels of fruit and vegetable waste continued to be a problem—students discarded roughly 60% to 75% of vegetables and 40% of fruits on their trays. The authors say that schools must focus on improving food quality and palatability to reduce waste.
In another report published in the Journal of Public Health, a pilot study to offer healthier food choices at high school sporting events reports positive results. Revenue and sales data from the concessions at Muscatine High School in Muscatine, Iowa were collected for two fall sports seasons one year apart. In the first season, no changes were made to the foods sold. In the second season, eight new healthier foods were added including carrots, apples, a grilled chicken sandwich, and string cheese. Overall, the healthier items accounted for 9.2% of total sales, a clear indication of demand for these items. Sales of these items did increase from game to game suggesting increasing interest in these foods. Additionally, student satisfaction of the foods sold was not affected when the healthier foods were offered and parental satisfaction increased.