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The school lunch debate: What do parents think?

Childhood obesity is a major health concern among U.S. adults and healthy nutrition plays a key role in the fight against obesity. First Lady Michelle Obama and the Let’s Move! initiative worked to enact higher standards for the nutrition in school lunches, but those standards are currently under debate.

Last week, a House of Representatives committee voted to allow schools to temporarily opt out of some requirements for healthy lunches on the basis that the cost of providing healthy foods is over-burdening some schools and causing them to lose money. But the First Lady has pushed back, saying that the healthier standards are working in reducing obesity rates but there is still much more work to do.

But what do parents think about the quality of the lunches at their children’s schools? We asked.

In a recent National Poll on Children’s Health, we asked parents to give their children’s schools a grade for their anti-obesity efforts. For providing healthy school lunches, 22% of parents gave A’s to their children’s schools. But 8% of parents said their kids’ schools are failing (grade D or F) when it comes to providing healthy lunch options. Parents of older children (age 12-17) were more likely to give a D or F to their children’s schools, with 10% saying schools are failing at providing healthy lunches. Read the full report - Fighting childhood obesity: Are schools passing or failing?

We also asked parents to grade their kids’ schools on other factors aimed at addressing childhood obesity: nutrition education, physical education, and the amount of time schools provide for physical activity. In these areas, parents with a child who is overweight or obese were more likely to say schools were failing in their efforts.

Infographic: Percentage of parents who give failing grades to their kids' schools for efforts to fight childhood obesity
View full size image | See other children's health infographics

What do you think?
What grade would you give your children’s schools when it comes to healthy school lunches? Share your thoughts in the comments or on Facebook and Twitter @MottNPCH.