Although some elementary school students complained about more nutritious school lunches when they were first introduced in 2012, they like them now, according to a peer-reviewed study in Childhood Obesity released Monday.
More than 500 public schools participated in the study with most coming from the southern region of the United States and rural areas.
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago surveyed administrators about the students’ reactions to new meals with standards s presented in the 2012-2013 school year. The new standards required that half of grains offered must be whole-grains, both a fruit and vegetable must be offered daily, milk must be nonfat or low-fat, and no trans-fats. The rules were created to address childhood obesity and were given a public relations push by First Lady Michelle Obama.
The study found that 70 percent of schools reported that students seem to like their new lunches. Fifty-six percent said that students complained at first, while 64 percent of schools agree that few students continue to complain about the lunches. Sixty-three percent of students are no longer concerned about the new changes, according to the research.
“This significant study reinforces what we have known all along: America’s school lunch program works,” said American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown. “We hope this sends a strong message to Congress that schools should not be allowed to withdraw from or delay any federal nutrition standards. By doing so, we may forfeit the fight against childhood obesity, and jeopardize our kids’ health.”