A national survey commissioned by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) reveals Americans strongly support current efforts to keep school meals healthy.
"Our survey found that people in the U.S. overwhelmingly support strong nutrition standards and believe school meals are healthier and on the right track because of these standards," said La June Montgomery Tabron, president and CEO of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. "Today, 67 percent of Americans say the nutritional quality of food served in public school cafeterias is excellent or good, which is up 41 percent from a national survey we conducted in 2010, before the standards were adopted."
Among the study’s key findings were 86 percent of Americans support current school nutrition standards and 88 percent support government-funded farm to school programs. Similarly, 86 percent said the nutrition requirements should be kept at the same level or strengthened.
The poll also surveyed views on farm to school programs, which bring food from local farms into school cafeterias and teach children about nutrition. Nearly 90 percent of those surveyed strongly support or somewhat support increasing government funding for farm to school programming.
"Kids eat what they know – and today more than 23 million students are learning about healthy food and local farms in the classroom and cafeteria through farm to school activities," said Anupama Joshi, executive director of the National Farm to School Network. "Farm to school not only has a significant impact on building a generation of healthy eaters, but also creates economic opportunities for farmers and support vibrant communities. It is so exciting to see the broad public support for this win-win approach."
According to the survey, nine out of 10 people the Dietary Guidelines for Americans should promote water as a preferred beverage choice. Even more – 91 percent – said ensuring kids have access to safe drinking water and encouraging them to consume more water is the number one or a high priority for improving the health and well-being of students.
"We're learning that kids' need for water is often overlooked or taken for granted," Tabron said. "It shouldn't be. Good hydration improves cognitive function, and recommending water as the beverage of choice can help in the fight against childhood obesity."
Additionally, 84 percent of those surveyed said they strongly or partly agree that sustainable agriculture should be part of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
More on the survey can be found here.