Offering healthier school lunch choices to students can improve their dietary choices outside of school, according to a new study by Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researchers.
The study, published in the journal Health Behavior and Policy Review, found that adding healthy meal choices at a middle school, through an intervention called IMOVE, led to students consuming less sugary beverages and whole-fat milk than their peers in a school that lacked such meal options.
The evaluation shows how “increased awareness and exposure to healthy choices in school can impact overall dietary behavior in a vulnerable population group in need of improved nutrition,” the authors said. They called for further research to gauge whether federal changes to school nutrition standards, approved in 2010, have improved children’s dietary behavior and health outcomes.
“Given the ongoing implementation of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act in schools across the country, this research provides some evidence that healthy changes to lunch entrees at school positively impact overall food choices and contribute to healthier eating—an area that deserves further exploration,” says lead author Dr. Jacey Greece, clinical assistant professor of community health sciences at BUSPH.
To read more about the study, go to: http://www.bu.edu/sph/2017/01/24/healthier-school-lunches-influence-kids-dietary-choices/