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School Lunch Makes Kids Fat

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New study alarms parents.

Kid eating chips and fries

University of Michigan researchers examining almost 1,300 sixth graders who either brought lunch from home or bought lunch at school found that the kids who bought lunch were more likely to be obese than the kids who brown-bagged it.

Of the children they studied, 38.8 percent of kids who bought lunches were obese, versus 24.4 percent of kids who brought their lunches from home.

Kids who buy school lunches were also more likely to:

• Eat fatty meats (25.8 percent vs. 11.4 percent) 
• Drink sugary beverages (36 percent vs. 14.5 percent) 

and 

• Consume fewer vegetables or fruits (16.3 percent vs. 91.2 percent) than the children who brought lunch from home.

"This study confirms the current and escalating national concern with children's health, and underscores the need to educate children about how to make healthy eating and lifestyle choices early on," Elizabeth Jackson, MD, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Michigan, said in a press release. "Although this study doesn't provide specific information on nutrient content of school lunches, it suggests there is a real opportunity to promote healthy behaviors and eating habits within the school environment."

Do your kids bring lunch or buy it?


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8 comments so far | Post a comment now
Black Iris March 15, 2010, 1:41 PM

Kids who are bringing lunch from home probably have parents who have more time and money. So they probably also get after school supervision (less TV) and sit-down dinners.

Carolyn March 15, 2010, 2:24 PM

My kids were buying lunch for a while but I realized that it costs less to actually make them a healthy lunch. My kids now bring their lunch every day and they prefer it… they are always complaining that the school only has unhealthy food that they don’t want to eat.

Marisa  March 15, 2010, 2:25 PM

I pack my sons lunch the menu is scarry & he is only in Pre-school D:

Anonymous March 15, 2010, 3:15 PM

Gotta love the little porker.

Scott Dawson March 16, 2010, 8:51 AM

C’mon… you can’t title this “School Lunch Makes Kids Fat” - nowhere in the article or study does it suggest that school lunch is the culprit. Rather, as some other comments suggest, it’s something else linked to a propensity to buy school lunch. The study doesn’t get into it, but it could be economic, family structure, availability of healthy food choices, culture, or a combination of those. We pack a lunch for our kids most days, and they usually pick one day a week to buy lunch. —lunchtaker.com

tennmom March 16, 2010, 10:12 AM

It costs less when my 10 year old daughter buys lunch at school ($1.25 a day) and it is healthier than the lunches we pack from home. The school rarely gives the kids a dessert, mostly fruit.
My 12 year old is in private school. If a child wants a burger, fries, soda & a cookie every day (plus whatever they chose for morning snack)they can have it as long as there is enough money on their lunch debit card. She could easily spend more than $5 a day or more.A bottle of water costs $2 but luckily a cup of water from the cooler is free.
I don’t mind a burger, some fries, a cookie, a soda once a week & don’t even care how she mixes those items, but I do insist that the kid grab a vegetable & some fruit every day.

mercaties March 17, 2010, 2:56 AM

WOW! You guy’s are getting off cheap! My daughter’s school lunches are $2.75 a day and she’s only in Primary (elementary) school. The Middle school is $3.00 and the highschool is $3.75. I put twenty-five dollars on her account monthly but we alternate between home lunch and school lunch. But I do think that home lunches are healthier, I’am really surprised sometimes by the lunch menu. They offer a daily fruit and salad bar but it’s optional my daughter says she picks carrots and fruit but I’m not actually there.

Doyle Heldman July 25, 2010, 10:23 PM

@Jason I completely agree with you


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