The W.K. Kellogg Foundation's new national survey, the 2015 School Food Poll, reveals that nine out of 10 people in the U.S. overwhelmingly support current efforts to keep school meals healthy. Among the key findings:
Conducted in May by LJR Custom Strategies with 1,200 randomly selected adults across the country, the survey shows that 86 percent support current school nutrition standards, which are helping more than 31 million kids get their daily nutrition through healthy school meals; and 88 percent support government-funded farm-to-school programs, which help supply school cafeterias with local, fresh produce.
"People believe school meals are healthier and on the right track because of these standards," says La June Montgomery Tabron, president and CEO of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, "Today, 67 percent of Americans say the nutritional quality of food served in public school cafeterias is excellent or good, which is up 41 percent from a national survey we conducted in 2010, before the standards were adopted."
The survey also finds that 86 percent say the nutrition requirements should remain the same or be strengthened; and 93 percent indicate it's very important or somewhat important to serve nutritious foods in school to support children's health and ensure that children are ready to learn and be successful.
The poll also studied viewpoints on farm-to-school programs, which bring food from local farms into school cafeterias and teach children about nutrition. Nearly 90 percent of those surveyed strongly support or somewhat support increasing government funding for farm to school programming.
Water is also a top choice for a beverage. Nine out of 10 people surveyed stated that the federal Dietary Guidelines for Americans should promote water as a preferred beverage choice while 91 percent said ensuring kids have access to safe drinking water and encouraging them to consume more water is the number-one or a high priority for improving the health and well-being of students.
"We're learning that kids' need for water is often overlooked or taken for granted," Montgomery Tabron adds. "It shouldn't be. Good hydration improves cognitive function, and recommending water as the beverage of choice can help in the fight against childhood obesity."
When it comes to the environment, 84 percent of the study respondents said they strongly or partly agree that sustainable agriculture should be part of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
More details and the complete poll results are available at https://www.instant.ly/report/55675611e4b02dd534ce287e and on social media with the hashtag #keepourkidshealthy.