“The benefits of our school lunch program are endless,” said Board President Barbara Fish. “Good nutrition enables young people to grow, develop and perform better in school.”
Students that eat school breakfast and lunch consume twice as many servings of fruits, vegetables and milk than those children that do not participate in the school program; drink one-forth the number of servings of soft drinks; and skip fewer meals. In West Virginia, 65% of students eat school lunch. On average, that is more than 196,000 lunches.
“We are excited to be celebrating National School Lunch week with St. Marys. Events like these really drive home the point that too many of our kids are not eating healthy and not exercising enough,” said Fish. “Recently the Board of Education revised its goals. It was important to us to include a goal focusing on healthful living.”
Data indicate that schools nationwide with high percentages of students who did not routinely engage in physical activity or eat well had smaller gains in test scores than other schools.
“Our schools are in a unique position to improve students’ nutrition and assist in reversing what has become an epidemic of childhood obesity,” said Fish. “Students spend a significant amount of time in school and I believe the influence of a school on a child’s health cannot be overstated. I know West Virginia schools are taking advantage of several healthy school initiatives but we still have a long way to go.”
National School Lunch week runs from October 11 – 15, 2004 and is sponsored by the School Nutrition Association. The week, which started in 1963 with a proclamation from President John F. Kennedy, is designed to raise awareness of the importance of school foodservice and nutrition.