Study Links Obama-Era School Lunch Change to Improved Childhood BMI

A new study reveals that a tweak made to school lunches during the Obama administration may be linked to a decline in childhood obesity rates.

Many children’s BMIs may have been lowered if public school lunches had included more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, as shown by a study published in the American Journal of Diseases in Children.

*Image source: Pexels

Dr. Aruna Chandran of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the study’s senior researcher told the Associated Press that nutritional choices made in childhood could have enduring consequences on children.

“You can significantly influence their weight gain throughout their youth,” she said.

From January 2005 to March 2020, the BMI of almost 14,000 students aged 5 to 18 was monitored, however, there was a notable decline around the time the Hunger Free Kids Act was established.

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In 2010, research published in the American Heart Journal revealed that unhealthy school lunches may have contributed to childhood obesity. Other factors, such as decreased physical activity and excessive recreational screen time, were identified as contributors to childhood obesity.

In the same year, former first lady Michelle Obama led the charge to make school lunches healthier.

CNN quoted Dr. Lauren Au, an assistant professor at the University of California, Davis, as saying, “The Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act still affects teens, despite the fact that their dietary habits and abilities to purchase their food differ from younger children.”