Turns out, delicious school cafeteria menu items such as calzones, potato rounds and meatball grinders are NOT the healthiest options for your kids. What a shocker, right? But this explains why more than one in three middle school students who regularly eat school lunches are obese or overweight, according to new research. They’re also more likely to have high LDL “bad” cholesterol levels than kids who bring lunch from home.
Pretty sure just LOOKING at that school lunch on the right has clogged my arteries.
Obviously, despite the growing national focus on children’s health, this suggests that efforts to provide healthier choices on school lunch menus still have a long way to go.
Having better options is particularly important in middle school, as that’s when children start to become more independent, says Elizabeth Jackson, MD, MPH, assistant professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan Health System in Ann Arbor. The choices they make then will shape their eating and exercise habits as they get older, she says.
I almost always bought my lunch at school. I would blame that for the extra fifty pounds I ended up gaining in college — but something tells me that had less to do with my chicken patty sandwiches in junior high, and more to do with the many kegs of beer I helped kick.
The study involved 1,076 middle school students who filled out questionnaires asking what they ate, how much physical activity they got, and the number of hours they watched TV, played video games, and spent on the computer each day.
Then they were divided into three groups, depending on whether they said they “always” or “almost always” ate school lunches, “always” or “almost always” brought their midday meal from home, or sometimes did one and sometimes the other.
The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology. Some would say the attendees were disHEARTened by the results. (See what I did there?)