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Tuesday, December 6 • 8:40am - 9:00am
Too Much Sugar, Too Young? An Assessment Of Calories And Sugars In Elementary School Lunches

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The rise of childhood obesity in the United States of America (USA) is of concern. In North Carolina, 1 in 3 children are considered obese (above the 85th percentile body mass index for age). Overconsumption of calories and sugar increases one's risk of being overweight, type 2 diabetes, and other health problems. Providing meals to students enrolled in public schools may contribute to a nutritious diet for students. The current National School Lunch Program (NSLP) meal standards were updated for the first time in 25 years in 2012, in order to better suit children's nutritional needs. Currently, 31.6 million students are enrolled in the NSLP in the USA. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends a limit of 25% of calories from added sugars, and that K-5th grade students consume between 350 and 500 calories at lunch daily. This study examines the nutritional content of lunch choices made by elementary school-aged students at one public elementary school in Buncombe County, North Carolina. This study emerged out of a concern regarding caloric and sugars intake by elementary school-aged students. The study compares the caloric and sugar content of meals selected by students who chose a la carte items in addition to their meals with students who did not select such items. This study found that on average students consume an appropriate amount of calories at lunch, however students’ lunches contained, on average, more sugars than is recommended. The main source of sugars in the lunches were a la carte items that students are able to purchase for an additional charge. While it is important to provide students enrolled in the public education systems meals, what students choose and consume may not support optimal student health.


Tuesday December 6, 2016 8:40am - 9:00am PST
406 Wilma Sherrill Center