Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Kids eat more fruits, vegetables when schools offer salad bar

A new UCLA study has found that elementary schools can significantly increase the frequency of fruit and vegetable consumption among low-income students by providing a lunch salad bar.

The findings, published in the December issue of the international peer-reviewed journal Public Health Nutrition, show that the frequency of students' fruit and vegetable consumption increased significantly — from 2.97 to 4.09 times daily — after a salad bar was introduced. In addition, students' mean daily intake of energy, cholesterol, saturated fat and total fat declined considerably.

"One of the major contributing factors to the high rate of overweight children in the United States is that they do not consume the daily recommended servings of fruits and vegetables," said lead author Dr. Wendy Slusser, assistant professor of pediatrics at Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA and the UCLA School of Public Health. "Increasing the availability and accessibility to healthy foods is one way to impact children's diets. In turn, this sets up opportunities for kids to have repeated exposure to healthy food and positively impact their choices."

Kids eating more fruits and vegetables.....