Sunday, October 3, 2010

Kids Eat Better After Learning about Food

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I talk to so many people who ask for advise about diet, I used to be amazed at how little people knew about the foods they choose to put into their bodies, or not.

The San Francisco Chronicle published an article about a study that proves the Berkeley Unified School District's School Lunch Initiative works.
A three year UC Berkeley study shows that students fed a steady curriculum of gardening, cooking and nutrition have significantly better eating habits than children who don't get the same instruction.
Surprised? Not me.
The report, scheduled to be released this week by the university's Dr. Roberts C. and Veronica Atkins Center for Weight and Health, is one of the first to look at how an integrated approach to food education at the elementary school level can contribute to children's health and welfare. The center's findings could prove timely as Congress prepares to vote, possibly as early as this week, on child nutrition legislation.
In 2006, researchers from Atkins Center began following the eating patterns of fourth and fifth graders. They wanted to know if the comprehensive nutrition program funded by the Chez Panisse Foundation and the Center for Eco literacy, two local nonprofits, was making a difference in kids' attitudes about food.
They found these students increased their fruit and vegetable consumption by 1.5 servings a day, while other students decreased their intake by nearly a quarter serving. The first group scored higher on nutrition tests and actually requested "more leafy greens, such as chard, spinach and kale, with their meals".
Many school nutrition advocates are hoping that UC Berkeley's report is instrumental in helping to pass the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, legislation that would include a 6-cent increase in the federal reimbursement rate for school lunches, mandatory funding for Farm to School programs and national nutrition standards for food sold on campus. There is much more to the article, too much to review here, but if a child can change their eating habits, and adult can too.
What? You don't have kids? Even if you don't, you will be old someday and who will be the leaders of our country? Who will be enacting the laws? The kids of today.
Educate yourself, educate those around you, chose the healthy way.
By the way, Chez Panisse? It has been my favorite restaurant for over 20 years. My husband and son also love it, if you have never been, you should experience it. The upstairs cafe is where we go, less expensive and casual, serving lunch too! It will be on my list of places to go in the next month.
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