The Cost of Poor Nutrition in Schools

Of course, there are a million reasons to feed children healthy food in schools. Inspiring better behavior and academic performance, preventing diseases like obesity, teaching healthy habits...

Author, former school kitchen administrator, and Food and Society Policy Fellow Ann Cooper adds another reason: money. In an article from 2004, Cooper cites USDA statistics in coming up with this assessment:

It costs approximately $6,000 to feed a child lunch during the entire tenure of their K-12 education, and it costs our health care system and our taxes approximately $175,000 per adult, for illnesses related to poor childhood nutrition.

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randy shain - October 7, 2005 11:50 AM

Why do the schools resist if the evidence is so stark?

Kurt - December 7, 2005 10:37 PM

I was at a fund raising event about a month back that was held in a middle school cafeteria. On the wall was the menu and the first things on the list were: hamburgers, hotdogs, pizza, chicken fingers, and grilled cheese sandwiches. There were hot pretzels, ice cream and candy bars on the list as well. Listed last or nearly last there were only 4 healthy items on the list; fruit, fruit cup (syrup? but better than a hot dog), salad, and a tuna sandwich (mayo?). That is "really" S.A.D. I hope that more and more parents will pack bagged lunches until the school cafeteria's loose out enough that they have to start selling more healthy lunches. Maybe reverse the order as well.

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