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The Physicians Committee



NEWS RELEASE August 14, 2007

New Report Reveals Surprising Divide in National School Lunch Program

Doctors Issue High Grades for Some School Districts, Failing Grades for Many Others; Nondairy Offerings on the Rise

WASHINGTON—Whether your children are served healthy school lunches may depend on where you live, a new report shows. The national School Lunch Report Card, issued today by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, reveals a surprising divide between school districts. PCRM dietitians analyzed the elementary school meals available at 22 of the largest districts participating in the National School Lunch Program.

“If your family lives in San Diego; Fairfax, Va.; Charlotte, N.C.; or Pinellas County, Fla., your child will find healthy vegetarian options most days of the week,” says PCRM dietitian Dulcie Ward, R.D. “But if your home is in Atlanta; St. Louis; Omaha, Neb.; or Anchorage, Alaska, your child may have a tough time finding healthy food. The federal government spent more than $8 billion on the National School Lunch Program last year, but many taxpayers aren’t getting their money’s worth.” More than 30 million children participate in the program.

Despite the ever-worsening childhood obesity epidemic, PCRM’s review shows that many menus are still packed with such unhealthy options as foot-long hot dogs and “Colossal Burgers” and are short on nutritious vegetarian dishes. On a positive note, a growing number of districts are offering soy milk, calcium-enriched juices, and bottled water as alternatives to dairy milk. Cow’s milk is the leading source of saturated fat in children’s diets.

2007 School Lunch Report Card

School District

Score

Grade

Pinellas County Schools (Florida)

94

A

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (North Carolina)

92

A-

Fairfax County Public Schools (Virginia)

92

A-

San Diego Unified School District (California)

92

A-

Miami-Dade County Public Schools (Florida)

89

B+

Montgomery County Public Schools (Maryland)

87

B+

Oakland Unified School District (California)

84

B

Sacramento City Unified School District (California)

84

B

Volusia County Schools (Florida)

84

B

DeKalb County Schools (Georgia)

80

B-

Capistrano Unified School District (California)

79

C+

Davis School District (Utah)

77

C+

Santa Ana Unified School District (California)

75

C

Milwaukee Public Schools (Wisconsin)

72

C-

Orange County Public Schools (Florida)

67

D+

Atlanta Public Schools (Georgia)

67

D+

Omaha Public Schools (Nebraska)

66

D

Anchorage School District (Alaska)

60

F

Hancock County Schools (West Virginia)

59

F

Ysleta Independent School District (Texas)

58

F

Jordan County School District (Utah)

56

F

St. Louis Public Schools (Missouri)

53

F

This year’s Most Improved Award goes to Oakland Unified School District, which bumped its score a full grade since last year.

Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit health organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research.



Media Contact:
Jeanne S. McVey
202-527-7316
jeannem@pcrm.org

Related Links:
2007 School Lunch Report Card

HealthySchoolLunches.org

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