School Policies and Practices to Improve Health and Prevent Obesity
National Elementary School Survey Results, School Years 2006–07 through 2009–10
- From 2006–07 to 2009–10, there has been a significant increase in the percentage of public elementary students who were offered whole grains (from 15% to 21%) and only nonfat or 1% milk (from 21% to 34%) in lunches sold at schools that participate in the National School Lunch Program.
- Lunches often include high-fat items. In 2009–10, ninety-nine percent of public elementary students were offered pizza some days, most days or every day, and 72 percent were offered deep-fried potatoes, such as fries.
- In 2009–10, sixty percent of public elementary students could purchase competitive beverages from vending machines, à la carte lines, school stores or snack bars. This represents a significant increase from 49 percent in 2006–07. Most of the increase is attributed to schools adding à la carte lines in the cafeteria.
- The percentage of public elementary school students who could buy only healthy beverages outside of school meals, including water, 100% juice, nonfat or 1% milk, increased significantly—from 10 percent in 2006–07 to 19 percent in 2009–10—but remained low overall.
- Only 55 percent of public elementary school students attended a school with a wellness policy that included guidelines for competitive foods and beverages, as required by the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004.
- Very few students had the opportunity to get enough physical activity. Only 22 percent of public 3rd grade students were offered at least 150 minutes of physical education per week, as recommended by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education.
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