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US study reveals packed lunches don’t meet guidelines

According to a study carried out by researchers in the United States, packed lunches that are taken to school by students often fail to meet dietary guidelines.

When examined, the lunches did not contain the recommended amounts of milk, vegetables and fruit.

The authors of the study noted that very little research had been carried out on packed lunches, although around 40% of students tended to eat them.

The research involved the lunch boxes of 626 students, all in the third or fourth grade of schools in Massachusetts. Kristie Hubbard, the lead researcher, stated that the lunches had very little fruit or vegetables, but contained snack foods and desserts full of salt and sugar. Hubbard said:

“The findings highlight the challenges associated with packing healthful items and the opportunities for nutrition experts to help parents and kids pack lunches and snacks that are healthy, convenient, cost-effective and taste good.”

The report, published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, revealed that 97% of those who had a packed lunch included a snack. Most of the lunches contained sandwiches, while fruit was included in 34% of lunches and only 11% contained vegetables. Almost a quarter of the children had sugary drinks.

Although healthy lunches are an important part of a child’s diet, the snacks consumed at school are also accountable for increased levels of child obesity. This is why schools in the UK are working hard to introduce healthy tuckshop foods. Merseyside is just one of the areas taking part in the initiative.

Posted by Jennifer
August 11, 2014

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