DONATE
FOR PHYSICIANS
HEALTH AND NUTRITION
ETHICAL RESEARCH & EDUCATION
MEDIA CENTER
LEGISLATIVE FOCUS
CLINICAL RESEARCH
EDUCATIONAL LITERATURE
MEMBERSHIP
SHOP

Connect with Us

 

 

The Physicians Committee



School Lunches Still Fail to Make the Grade

For the fourth year in a row, PCRM used its School Lunch Report Card to analyze the nutritional quality of elementary school lunches served in school districts participating in the USDA’s National School Lunch Program (NSLP). The NSLP serves more than 28 million lunches a day at 100,000 schools and childcare institutions across the country.

While there are bright spots—Fairfax County (VA), San Diego, and Detroit scored respectable “Bs” and Las Vegas/Clark County schools jumped from an “F” last year to a “C+” this year—PCRM’s 2004 School Lunch Report Card finds that many schools are struggling to make the grade when it comes to serving healthy, low-fat lunches. Six of the 11 school districts rated this year eked out “Cs.” Maryland’s Baltimore County chalked up a “D.” Albuquerque’s schools failed outright with an “F.” Of 25 school districts approached, only 11 provided complete information. The lesson?

“To make ends meet, too many school lunch programs depend on commodity foods available through the NSLP,” said Jen Keller, R.D., PCRM’s nutrition projects coordinator. “These USDA surplus foods include too many high-fat, high-cholesterol meats, dairy products and processed foods, and not enough produce and healthy vegetarian entrées and side dishes. With one in five school age children considered overweight, we’ve got to get a lot more nutrient- and fiber-rich fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains on school menus and a lot less pizza, tater tots, and french fries.”

In reviewing elementary school lunches and nutrition programs using new, more comprehensive criteria, PCRM nutritionists focused on the nutrient content of the menus, menu selections, foods sold in school vending machines, and nutrition education programs. The criteria were grouped into the categories of Obesity and Chronic Disease Prevention (40 points), Health Promotion and Nutrition Adequacy(40 points), and Nutrition Initiatives (20 points). In the Obesity and Chronic Disease Prevention category, subcategories included the percentage of calories coming from fat and saturated fat, and milligrams of cholesterol based on menu analyses, as well as the frequency of featured vegan entrée selections. Health Promotion and Nutrition Adequacy subcategories included menu analysis results for fiber and vitamin C content, as well as the frequency of low-fat vegetable side dishes, fruit, and the availability of calcium-rich, nondairy beverage alternatives. The Nutrition Initiatives category evaluated nutrition education programs and the presence and contents of vending machines in the schools.

To learn more about PCRM’s 2004 School Lunch Report Card and related child nutrition issues, visit www.HealthySchoolLunches.org.

District

Location

Score

Grade

Fairfax County Public School District

Fairfax, VA

84.7

B

San Diego Unified School District

San Diego, CA

80.9

B-

Detroit City School District

Detroit, MI

80.4

B-

Austin Independent School District

Austin, TX

77.6

C+

Clark County School District

Las Vegas, NV

77.5

C+

New York City Public School District

New York

75.0

C

Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District

Charlotte, NC

75.0

C

Prince George’s County Public School District

Upper Marlboro, MD

71.7

C-

Montgomery County Public School District

Rockville, MD

70.4

C-

Baltimore County Public School District

Baltimore County, MD

65.6

D

Albuquerque Public School District

Albuquerque, NM

59.8

F

 



 

Autumn 2004: Lab Stress 24/7

Autumn 2004
Volume XIII
Number 4

 Good Medicine
ARCHIVE

 
This site does not provide medical or legal advice. This Web site is for informational purposes only.
Full Disclaimer | Privacy Policy

The Physicians Committee
5100 Wisconsin Ave., N.W., Ste.400, Washington DC, 20016
Phone: 202-686-2210     Email: pcrm@pcrm.org