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Fruits, Vegetables More Popular with U.S. Students
March 4, 2014

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American students are eating more fruits and vegetables, a study has confirmed.

The study, from the Harvard School of Public Health, offers findings that support one of the main assertions of the authors of the new federal standards for school nutrition, launched in 2012. Those standards, from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, required students to make more healthful choices for their school meals, primarily in the area of fruits and vegetables. Other changes in the standards were to make whole grains more available and to remove trans fats. In addition, limits were stipulated for sodium levels and total calories.

The study surveyed more than 1,000 students in four schools, both before and after the introduction of the new standards and found a 23-percent increase in the consumption of fruit and a 16-percent increase in the consumption of vegetables. The study also found no marked increase in food waste.

An estimated 32 million American schoolchildren eat school-provided lunches every day. The number eating school-provided breakfasts is thought to be 11 million.

The updated USDA guidelines are part of the Let's Move! campaign, championed by First Lady Michelle Obama, to reduce childhood obesity. The Let's Move! campaign began in earnest with the 2010 Healthy, Hunger-free Kids Act and continued with a shift last year from the long-standing Food Pyramid to the new version, MyPlate.

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