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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on California’s STAR tests (then the state’s standardized examinations of annual student progress, which have since been replaced by another system).”(more)

Obesity campaigners call for more salads and fewer puddings in school

BBC – Staff Writer

“School meals should include fewer puddings and more fresh vegetables, according to a report. Obesity Action Scotland (OAS) said improvements to school meals could play an important part in reducing childhood obesity. It wants to highlight the issue ahead of the council elections in two weeks’ time. The Scottish government said a review of school food and drink nutritional standards was under way. OAS is calling on local government election candidates to commit to transform school meals in Scotland “from a feeding culture to an eating culture”. The organisation said it wanted unprocessed or “minimally processed” foods used wherever possible and vegetables, soup and salads prioritised over puddings.”(more)

A new way to teach children about eating disorders

Medical X-Press – Emma Rich, Niamh Ni Shuilleabhain And Simone Fullagar

“An estimated 1.6m people in the UK have experienced an eating disorder. In the US, these figures are as high as 20m women and 10m men. With numbers like these, and rising levels of body disaffection among young people, tackling eating disorders is an increasingly urgent task. As well as leading to potentially life threatening conditions, eating disorders have significant social and economic impacts. While we are often told of the burden of obesity on the NHS, it is also worth remembering that eating disorders are reported to cost the British economy £15 billion each year.”(more)

Overweight mothers underestimate their children’s weight

Medical X-Press – Neil Schoenherr

“Mothers who are overweight or obese tend to underestimate the weights of their obese children, according to a new study from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis. Researchers, led by Rachel Tabak, research assistant professor, surveyed 230 overweight or obese mothers in St. Louis who had a preschool-aged child. Nearly half of the mothers considered their overweight or obese children “about the right weight.” The study, “Associations Between Feeding Practices and Maternal and Child Weight Among Mothers Who do and do not Correctly Identify Their Child’s Weight Status,” was published in the January issue of Obesity Science & Practice.”(more)

10 meal, play tips for healthier, happier kids

The Chicago Sun Times – Jordan Owen

“Now that it’s March, you’re (hopefully) doing well on your own healthy New Year’s resolutions, but now it’s time also to focus on someone else’s health — your children’s. Child obesity is a growing issue across the country, but Chicago children have even higher overweight and obesity prevalence rates than other U.S. children in the same ages groups, according to the Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children. About 70 percent of Chicago students do not eat the recommended fruit and vegetable servings per day. Dr. Jennifer Shu, the co-author of “Food Fights: Winning the Nutritional Challenges of Parenthood Armed with Insight, Humor, and a Bottle of Ketchup,” and Dr. Rebecca Unger, an attending physician at Northwestern Children’s Practice who has also worked at Lurie Children’s Hospital’s Wellness and Weight Management program, offer some of their best tips for happier and healthier children.”(more)

Only one-third of parents think they are doing a good job helping kids eat healthy

Medical X-Press – Staff Writer

“If you know healthy eating is important for your kids but you also feel like it’s easier said than done, you’re not alone. Nearly all parents agree with the importance of healthy diets during childhood, according to a new national poll. But when it comes to their own homes, only a third of parents of children ages 4-18 are confident they are doing a good job shaping their child’s eating habits. While a little more than half of parents polled believe their children eat mostly healthy, only one in six rate their children’s diets as very nutritious, according to the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health. Meanwhile, about a fourth of parents say their child’s eating is somewhat or not healthy at all.”(more)