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Would You Want To See a Report on What Your Kids Eat For Lunch?

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A rural New York school district tested out sending home reports to parents about what their children chose to eat for lunch as a way of encouraging healthier eating by kids.

The pilot program from Cornell University involved 27 parents who were sent weekly emails detailing the types of food their children bought at lunch. After the program began, the kids ordered cookies and flavored milk less often than the control group, and ordered fruits and vegetables more frequently. However, they bought ice cream and chips about about the same rate. Follow-up interviews indicated the reports also seemed to encourage more conversations between the parents and their children about nutrition, and inspired parents to make their own meals at home more nutritious.

It remains to be seen if parental reports like these could work on a larger scale, but the researchers said schools should be careful about the kind of issues that have surrounded sending reports home about children’s body mass index.


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