michelle obama

michelle obama

Trashed: Study finds students toss veggies mandated by federal school lunch program

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Trashed: Study finds students toss veggies mandated by federal school lunch program Is Michelle Obama's healthy school lunch program working? Public schools are continuing to serve the federally mandated fruits and vegetables, but a new study claims the fresh produce is going into trash cans more than tummies. Since 2012, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has implemented a requirement – widely championed by First Lady Michelle Obama – that children must select either a fruit or vegetable for school lunches subsidized by the federal government. However, a new report published this week by researchers at the University of Vermont found that even though students did add more fruits and vegetables to their plates, as the “Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act” enforces, “children consumed fewer [fruits and vegetables] and wasted more during the school year immediately following implementation of the USDA rule.” The report, entitled “Impact of the National School Lunch Program on Fruit and Vegetable Selection,” noted that average waste increased from a quarter cup to more than one-third of a cup per tray. Observing students at two northeastern elementary schools during more than 20 visits to each, researchers took photos of students’ trays after they chose their items, as they were exiting the lunch line and again as they went by the garbage cans. “The architects of the Act want their children and schoolchildren across America to eat healthy, hearty meals," Joe Colangelo, director of the product testing and consumer advocacy organization Consumers’ Research, told FoxNews.com. "Unfortunately, our government does not have a perfect record of influencing the eating habits of American citizens.” “It's this kind of micro-management of our lives that conservatives always warn about and new media claim won't happen." - Dan Gainor, Media Research Center The study's conclusions jibe with widespread complaints from school officials and parents that the program encourages food waste. It has also drawn criticism for cost, difficulty in implementing and lack of appeal for students. Parents, not schools, should decide what their children eat, said Dan Gainor, of the Media Research Center “Schools can't tell what eating disorders or personal preferences each student has,” Gainor remarked. “It's this kind of micro-management of our lives that conservatives always warn about and new media claim won't happen. Until it does.” A spokesperson for the USDA emphasized that the observation that went into the Vermont study was conducted in 2013, only a year after the program was put into practice, and said several other studies since then have indicated that kids are indeed eating healthier as a result of updated nutrition standards for school meals. A 2014 study by Harvard University’s School of Public Health found that children actually consumed more fruits and vegetables in the wake of the government’s new guidelines.