Nutritional report cards help kids make healthier choices

The report cards included weekly totals for the child's number of meals, milk, water, fruits and vegetables, starchy sides, ice cream, cookies, chips, etc.

Jan. 2—With nearly one-third of all children and adolescents in the U.S. overweight, parents and school officials face a difficult challenge in trying to instill healthy eating habits. Despite many attempts, they’re still finding it difficult. But a recent pilot program in rural New York shows promise, and it comes at almost no extra cost, because it only involves sending parents weekly nutrition report cards by email.

For the program, which was conducted by researchers from Cornell University, 27 parents received weekly emails that listed the amounts and types of food that their children were eating. The report cards included totals for the number of meals, white milk, flavored milk, water, fruits and vegetables, starchy sides, ice cream, cookies, chips, and other snacks that the child consumed. At the end of the study, the researchers found that students whose parents got report cards were more likely to eat healthier, choosing fruits and vegetables more often, and flavored milk less frequently than a control group.