Research from the University of Michigan suggests that say one in three middle school youth who regularly eat school lunches are obese or overweight. They are also more likely to have higher cholesterol levels than kids who bring lunches from home.
The study included 1,076 middle school students who completed questionnaires about what they ate and how much physical activity they got as well as how many screen hours they logged each day.
Compared with kids who ate school lunches, kids who brought lunches from home were:
- Less likely to be overweight or obese (25% vs 38%)
- Less likely to eat two or more servings of fatty meats like fried chicken or hot dogs daily (2% vs. 6%)
- Less likely to drink two or more sugary drinks a day (7% vs. 19%)
- More likely to eat at least two servings a day of fruit (49% vs. 33%)
- More likely to eat at least two servings a day of vegetables (50% vs. 40%)
- Had lower levels of LDL (the bad cholesterol)
In addition, the lunch from home kids were more likely to participate in active sports, got more moderate exercise, and spend less time watching TV, playing video games and using computers outside of school.
It’s time to start packing lunches, whether parents or kids do it. Their health is at stake. The habits kids develop in middle school continue with them into their teen and adult years, so now is the time to change those nasty habits.
Photo credit: chidorian
This post, Kids Who Eat School Lunch Are Less Healthy In General, was originally published on Healthine.com by Nancy Brown, Ph.D..