The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) has released a new infographic entitled, Students and Parents Support Healthier School Meals. The infographic discusses school lunches and the healthier options that are available today.
The Inside Track spoke with PreventObesity.net Leader Jessica Donze Black, director of Kids’ Safe and Healthful Foods Project at The Pew Charitable Trusts, about the research behind the infographic and the policy debate it informs.
“Every parent wants their child to be healthy, and what they eat in school absolutely matters to their overall health and wellbeing,” Black noted. “There has been a lot of anecdotal information circulated about healthier meals in schools, but this infographic shows what the science and data are telling us. For instance, most parents across the political spectrum support healthier school meals.”
Advocates at the local, state and national levels can play a role in promoting healthier school nutrition. Polls by Black’s project have found that as few as one in three parents have eaten lunch with their children in school cafeterias in the past year. “We encourage all parents to go out and eat with their children, and if you think that there is something that can be improved with the meals, talk with the cafeteria manager or school nutrition director,” she said.
Advocates can also lend their voice in state and national policy debates. “It’s important to be aware of these school nutrition policy conversations and to encourage your lawmakers to support healthy school meals,” Black said. “Parents have a tremendous opportunity to help support healthier school nutrition. They can model healthier practices by applying the same nutrition standards that are required during the school day to activities they host outside of the school day. If they are doing a PTA fundraiser, hosting a library night or any other activity at the school, promoting healthier food and snacks options helps reinforce the changes schools are making during the day.”
How can advocates use this infographic? “We encourage people to share it via social media and other channels and make note that regardless of what messages may be common in the media, research shows that progress is being made. Schools are successfully serving healthier foods and students are benefiting from the changes.”
To view the Students and Parents Support Healthier School Meals infographics, please visit: http://bit.ly/1KPsDHO.
To learn more about visiting your child’s school cafeteria for a lunch date, and encouraging your school to continue to serve healthy meals, please click here.
Note: The poll was conducted by Hart Research Associates and Ferguson Research. Data were collected via telephone surveys between June 19 and 28, 2014, among registered voters who are parents of public school students. It was released by The Pew Charitable Trusts, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), and the American Heart Association (AHA).