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Good News for Parents: New Study Shows Kids Eating More Healthy Food at School, Throwing Less Food Away

Press Release
Release No.
USDA 0055.15
Contact: FNS Press Team

WASHINGTON, DC, March 4, 2015 – A new study from the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity at the University of Connecticut shows that children are eating healthier food at school and discarding less food since updated healthy school meal standards took effect in 2012.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today released the following statement on the report's findings:

"Updated healthy school meal standards were developed based on doctors' recommendations to help ensure our children would be able to get healthy food at school. This new study adds to a growing body of scientific research that shows these standards are working. It is clear that kids are now eating healthier food and throwing less food away. This is good news for parents and teachers, who overwhelmingly support healthier meals because they know kids learn better when they have proper nutrition. For Congress to meddle with doctors' recommendations and go back to less healthy meals now would not be in the best interest of our children."

Key findings from the Rudd Center study include:

  • More students are now choosing to add fruit to their lunch tray than they were before the updated standards went into effect (54 percent in 2012 to 66 percent in 2014).
  • The percentage of the vegetables on their plates students consumed increased by nearly 20 percent, decreasing the amount of vegetables thrown away.
  • Students consumed more of their lunch entrées (71 percent in 2012 to 84 percent in 2014), which also decreases food waste.

Read the full report from the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity, University of Connecticut: New School Meal Regulations Increase Fruit Consumption and Do Not Increase Total Plate Waste

Page updated: March 07, 2023