Do school lunches plump up poor kids?

Students who eat school lunches are more likely to be become obese, a new study shows. But students who eat school breakfasts are lighter. Eating both breakfast and lunch produces the slimmest children, reports Miller-McCune Online.

Low-income children, who qualify for free meals at school, are more prone to obesity. But the researchers think the lunches themselves are encouraging weight gain.

Daniel Millimet, an economist at SMU, theorizes that school breakfasts comply with federal nutrition guidelines, or come close. At lunch, students may buy extra items that aren’t subject to nutrition guidelines because kids are spending their own money.  Schools keep the profits from desserts or snacks students pay for themselves and can use the money as they see fit.

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Comments

  1. what’s interesting is the most school lunches only cost a dollar or maybe a dollar and a quarter. the kids receiving the free lunch are then spending the dollar and a quarter every day on the other junk the school sells. . .so maybe they shouldn’t be receiving the free lunch in the first place. (i say this from my 5 years experience teaching in a school that had 98% of it’s students receiving free or reduced lunch.) not to mention the fact that they all stop by the corner store in the morning to buy their huggy juice, empanadillas, and daily candy stash. perhaps lower income children just don’t eat healthy all around?

  2. what’s interesting is the most school lunches only cost a dollar or maybe a dollar and a quarter. the kids receiving the free lunch are then spending the dollar and a quarter every day on the other junk the school sells. . .so maybe they shouldn’t be receiving the free lunch in the first place. (i say this from my 5 years experience teaching in a school that had 98% of it’s students receiving free or reduced lunch.) not to mention the fact that they all stop by the corner store in the morning to buy their huggy juice, empanadillas, and daily candy stash. perhaps lower income children just don’t eat healthy all around?

  3. sorry for the double post. . .not sure how i did that.

  4. The school lunch program requires the lunches to provide at least 1/3 of the daily RDA for calories, protein, iron, calcium, etc. When I make lunch at home, my lunches are not 1/3 of the daily caloric intake. My lunches are much simpler–not breaded and fried, and not mostly carbohydrates. Our local public school serves lunches which are mostly carbohydrates (breakfast for lunch, pasta) or breaded (chicken patties, etc.) The lunches often include popsicles for dessert.

    If I served my children lunches with as many calories as the school lunches, my children would be obese, too, unless I made an effort to make very small dinners.