A Centers for Disease Control study has found that during 2014, almost all schools offered whole grain foods each day for breakfast (97.2%) and lunch (94.4%), most offered two or more vegetables (79.4%) and two or more fruits (78.0%) each day for lunch and approximately one third (30.5%) offered self-serve salad bars.
Also, among the 55.0% of schools that prepared food at the school rather than in another location such as a central kitchen, during the 30 days before the study, approximately half almost always or always used practices to reduce sodium, including using fresh or frozen vegetables instead of canned vegetables (54.1%), using low-sodium canned vegetables instead of regular canned vegetables (51.8%), using other seasonings instead of salt (65.1%) and reducing the amount of salt called for in recipes or using low-sodium recipes (68.0%).
The study also found variances among types of schools in two areas: The percentage of high schools that offered whole grain foods each day for breakfast was significantly lower than the percentage of elementary schools and middle schools that did so, and the percentage of high schools that offered two or more fruits each day for lunch was significantly higher than the percentage of elementary schools and middle schools that did so.
On a historical level from 2000 through 2014, the study found that the percentage of schools offering two or more fruits every day for lunch, offering two or more vegetables every day for lunch, using low-sodium canned vegetables instead of regular canned vegetables, using other seasonings instead of salt, and reducing the amount of salt called for in recipes or using low-sodium recipes increased significantly.
For the study, CDC analyzed data from the 2000, 2006, and 2014 School Health Policies and Practices Study (SHPPS) on school nutrition services practices related to fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and sodium.SHPPS is a national survey developed and periodically conducted by CDC to assess school health policies and practices at state, district, school, and classroom levels.
Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]