Dec. 4—A new study released by the USDA shows the effects school policies have on fat content of school meals.
The report, Meeting Total Fat Requirements for School Lunches: Influence of School Policies and Characteristics, found that certain policies directly affect nutritional content. Those policies include:
Other policies may indirectly affect fat content because they enable students to choose alternative foods. For example, in elementary schools where á la carte foods were available, the fat content of meals was higher. Vending machines were more prevalent in middle and high schools that serve higher fat content meals.
“Although school characteristics (rural versus urban, region, size) are not subject to policy change, they may be useful for targeting lunch improvement efforts,” the report states. “For both elementary and middle/high schools, urban schools were more highly represented in the lowest fat category, and rural schools were more predominant in the highest fat categories.”
To view the full report, go to ers.usda.gov/publications/err87.