Blog: The Educated Reporter

L.A. Times: Students Reject Healthier Cafeteria Fare

The L.A. Times has a terrific story about just how difficult it is to get students to eat healthy — even when the other options are taken off the cafeteria menu.

When asked what they would eat for lunch instead of the healthier options, two students reached in their backpacks for Cheetos and soda.

First Lady Michelle Obama has made reducing childhood obesity the centerpiece of her public agenda, and schools play an important role in that campaign. But as the L.A. Times story makes clear, you can lead students to tofu but you can’t make them eat it.

I wrote a story a few years ago about junk food being banned from high school vending machines. The results weren’t quite what the school board had in mind. Convenience stores in the neighborhoods surrounding the campus reported sales of snacks and soda had increased sharply in the hours immediately before — and after – classes. The schools lost the revenue from the vending machines.

In case you missed it, public school teacher Sarah Wu at the cafeteria meals for a year … and survived. Her book (based on her popular blog) is now out. Click here for a Public Radio International interview with Wu.


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