by Christopher Freeburn | August 29, 2013 11:29 am
It seemed like a good idea: combat rising obesity among children by dropping unhealthy foods from school lunches.
The problem is that many kids don’t seem to want anything to do with the meals. As a result, some schools are dropping out of the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). The program — which has an $11 billion budget — provides funding for schools who serve lunches that include fruits, vegetables and whole grains, the Associated Press notes.
The precise number of schools that have ditched the NSLP is unknown, but the superintendent of one Illinois school district said financial reimbursements offered through the program were insufficient to make up for the $30,000 it lost last year as students stopped buying the healthy meals. The district says that lunch sales fell between 10% and 12% last year.
An official with a New York school district claimed similar financial losses and said fruits served with meals usually ended up in the garbage.
Federal officials say that despite a small number of complaints, most schools were complying with the new meal standards and that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food, Nutrition and Consumer services, which administers the NSLP, remains committed to the program.
New healthy food guidelines for schools were implemented last year as part of an on-going drive by First Lady Michelle Obama to improve children’s health.
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