School Lunches Have Gotten Much Healthier in the Last Few Years, Data Shows

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Across the board, school lunches have gotten significantly better for students since 2012
School Lunches Have Gotten Much Healthier in the Last Few Years, Data Shows

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Data also shows that childhood obesity is generally declining. 

School lunches have gotten significantly healthier since 2012 — when school lunch reforms introduced by first lady Michelle Obama were first implemented — a federal report has found.

The report revealed that almost 80 percent of schools offered two or more vegetables per meal in 2014, compared to 62 percent in 2000; 78 percent of schools offered two or more fruits at lunch; and a third of schools are now equipped with salad bars. Other changes include the removal of sugary beverages and the reduction of sodium levels across the board.

“Literally, the way the school lunch line looks is different,” Deb Bentzel, senior associate at the nonprofit Food Trust in Philadelphia, told The New York Times. “It’s brighter, it’s healthier-looking, it’s fresher.”

Unfortunately, plenty of students are still resistant to actually eating the healthier food — they’re actually throwing the fruits and vegetables away — but nutrition experts understand that these changes will take time.

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In the meantime, childhood obesity rates have shown “promising declines,” and given that students consume up to half their daily calories at school, the changes represent a national shift in how children are being fed — whether opponents to these reforms like it or not.