Fruit and Vegetable Consumption Up, Plate Waste Down in School Lunches

The Physicians Committee

Fruit and Vegetable Consumption Up, Plate Waste Down in School Lunches

March 6, 2015

Fruit and vegetable consumption is on the rise with the implementation of the 2010 Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, which increased school lunch requirements to better meet the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Despite concerns that the heightened requirements would lead to excess plate waste, a study published online in Childhood Obesity finds the new polices have led to significantly less plate waste in schools. Researchers monitored plate waste and food consumption at 12 schools annually before and after the new regulations took effect and found student selection of fruit increased by 12 percent, taking overall fruit consumption to 74 percent with a 9 percent increase for every added fruit item. Vegetable consumption increased by 20 percent. Total entrée consumption also rose by 13 percent, showing that more fruit and vegetable choices do not always lead to wasted food.

For more on healthful nutrition in schools, visit

Schwartz MB, Henderseon KE, Read M, Danna N, Ickovics JR. New school meal regulations increase fruit consumption and do not increase total plate waste. Child Obes. Published online on February 12, 2015.

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