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You Are What You Eat (at School): Report Shows Healthy School Lunches Tied to Higher Student Test Scores

The 74 Million – Kevin Mahnken

“Efforts to make school meals more nutritious have yielded noticeably positive results, according to a paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research. That progress, however, isn’t measured in lower obesity rates, but in improved academic performance. The study collected data between 2008 and 2013 from roughly 9,700 California public schools, comparing the vast majority that prepare meals in-house to those that contract with outside vendors. Measuring the nutritional quality of the vendors’ meals against the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Healthy Eating Index, the authors found that students who ate healthy meals at school also scored slightly better on California’s STAR tests (then the state’s standardized examinations of annual student progress, which have since been replaced by another system).”(more)

Want more energy and less stress? It’s time to rethink your packed lunch

The Guardian – Becky Alexander and Michelle Lake

“Eating a good lunch at work is so important: it gives you energy for a busy day, is a break from the classroom and helps balance stress levels. It’s especially key during exam time – long days teaching and invigilating, supporting pupils, as well as all the normal end-of-term activities can take their toll on teachers’ wellbeing. If you don’t have time to nip out at lunchtime and your canteen is heaving, the best option is to take your own food to school. It’s a good idea to have a stash of ingredients in the cupboard, freezer and fridge so you always have something decent to eat. We recommend buying bags of cooked lentils and nuts, tins of fish, and keeping longer-lasting veggies such as peppers, courgettes and radishes in the fridge. Sealed packs of feta, jars of olives and roast peppers all last for ages too and make a delicious, nutritious lunch.”(more)

No fruit juice before age 1, pediatricians say

Medical X-Press – Amy Norton

“Several new recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics may just send toddlers into tantrums. One recommendation is that fruit juice be limited for toddlers and older children, and babies shouldn’t have any at all before their first birthday. Another recommendation is that parents should forgo the beloved sippy cup for their children altogether. The advice is the first update to the AAP’s stance on fruit juice in 16 years.The major change is that fruit juice is discouraged for the first year of life—and not just the first six months, as previously recommended.”(more)

White House relaxes Obama-era healthy school lunch rules

BBC – Staff Writer

“The Trump administration has loosened nutritional standards aimed at making US school lunches healthier that were championed by former first lady Michelle Obama. New Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue postponed reductions in sodium, relaxed requirements for whole grains and allowed sweetened flavoured milk back. One in five US children is obese, the US government says. More than 30m mostly poor children eat federally-funded school lunches. The 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act made federal grants for meals conditional on reductions in calories, sodium and trans fat content and increases in fruit, vegetables and whole grains.”(more)

Want to better comply with dietary guidelines, and save money? Cook dinner at home

Medical X-Press – Staff Writer

“The best culinary paths to better health are not always paved with cash, new research shows, and cooking at home can provide the best bang-for-the-buck nutritionally as well as financially. A study by Arpita Tiwari, a health systems researcher at Oregon State University, and collaborators at the University of Washington confirms what many mothers and grandmothers have said for decades: that habitually eating dinner at home means a better diet and lower food expenditures compared with regularly dining out.”(more)

Researchers find strong link between fast-food ads and consumption among pre-schoolers

Medical X-Press – Staff Writer

“Pre-school age children who are exposed to child-targeted fast-food advertising on television are considerably more likely to consume fast-food products, according to a recent Dartmouth-led study published in the journal Public Health Nutrition. According to the Federal Trade Commission, the greatest exposure to food advertising in the US for children aged 2-11 years comes from fast-food restaurant chains. In 2009, the fast-food industry spent more than $580 million on child-targeted marketing, with television being the predominant medium.”(more)