Elementary schools may be contributing to children’s poor dietary habits

Elementary schools may be contributing to children's poor dietary habitsMore than 19 percent of children between the ages of 6 and 11 in the U.S. are considered obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many of these individuals may exhibit poor dietary habits that contributes to their weight. Now, a news report indicates that some elementary schools throughout the country may still be providing high-calorie beverages to kids despite rules set by national guidelines.

The study’s authors, from the University of Illinois at Chicago, suggest that “because children spend many hours in school, changes are needed to make the schools environment healthier by limiting the availability of high-calorie beverages.”

For the research, the investigators set out to find the availability of unhealthy and sugar-sweetened drinks that are sold in elementary schools. This included those in vending machines, stores and snack bars which are all offered during lunch time. The researchers also examined what kinds of healthy alternatives are offered by the schools, such as milk.

The study found that while beverages for sale in public and private elementary schools increased last year, so did the percentage of students who consumed high-caloric drinks. In fact, more than 44 percent of the public school students were able to purchase beverages that are not allowed by the Institute of Medicine’s guidelines.

Parents could encourage their children to consume a nutritional diet so that they may lead a healthier lifestyle.