Poll shows Alabama parents overwhelmingly support healthy school lunches

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HUNTSVILLE, AL. — In 2012, the USDA updated school nutrition standards for the first time in 15 years. Those new requirements were met with resistance across the nation.

A  newly released poll by The Pew Research Trust shows Alabama voters, including parents, are warming up to the new school lunch guidelines, however. According to the poll: large majorities in Alabama favor the following standards in the national school meal guidelines:

  • 95 percent of voters and 96 percent of parents support the requirement that schools include a serving of fruits or vegetables with every meal.
  • 71 percent of voters and 70 percent of parents think schools should provide foods made from whole grains with every meal.
  • 73 percent of voters and 69 percent of parents say salt should be limited.

Claudia Follette, a Huntsville dietitian says school lunch is vital to child growth, “one-third of their intake, for many of our children, is through school lunch. So its good the new guidelines promote whole grains and vegetables and reduce the fat intake,” said Follette.

Follette says childhood obesity rates in Alabama are higher than the national average and rates of diabetes and high blood pressure are also on the rise among Alabama children.

“We see that’s partially due to their diet so its important that the guidelines were updated in 2012 to address some of these problems we’re seeing now,” said Follette.

Follette says eating habits learned at school will to shape a better future for our children.

“They will be exposed to different types of foods… that are healthier and through that exposure and may make better food choices as they grow and develop,” said Follette.