Childhood Obesity, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers, has published a special issue dedicated to the role that schools can and should play in providing and encouraging healthy nutrition and good eating habits to help stem the tide of the obesity epidemic in children and adolescents. The special issue provides comprehensive coverage of food policy, systems, and programs to improve food culture, practices, and nutrition standards in the school environment, and is available free on the Childhood Obesity website*.
Efforts to improve school nutrition have been limited mainly “by a relative absence of evidence,” says David L. Katz, MD, MPH, Editor-in-Chief of Childhood Obesity and Director of Yale University’s Prevention Research Center. “Standards for school food should be set high, and our society should do what it takes to get there from here,” writes Dr. Katz in his editorial.
The issue contains multiple Perspectives including an article in which authors from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Washington, DC, advocate replacing less healthful competitive foods with healthier options without compromising food service revenues. A team comprised of authors from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta, GA, Food Family Farming Foundation, Boulder, CO, United Fresh Produce Association, Washington, DC, and Whole Foods Market, Inc., Austin, TX, describes the progress to date of the LMSB2S model for introducing salad bars in schools, launched in 2010 in support of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative, in the article “Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools: A Public-Private Partnership to Increase Student Fruit and Vegetable Consumption.” The article “Causal Pathways Linking Farm to School to Childhood Obesity Prevention” presents a framework for developing an evidence base to support a link between Farm to School programs and prevention of childhood obesity.
In the interview entitled “Salad Bars in Schools,” Rodney Taylor, Director of Nutrition Services at Riverside, CA, Unified School District, discusses how his Farm to School salad bar model is unique, offering an option to the traditional hot lunch, and has been shown to yield a sustainable improvement in health and nutritional behaviors in children.
Original research articles include “School Lunches and Lunches Brought from Home: A Comparative Analysis,” in which authors from Baylor College of Medicine and The Cluthe & William B. Oliver Foundation, Houston, TX, examine differences in nutritional quality between school lunches and home-prepared lunches. “Local Wellness Policy Strength and Perceived Implementation of School Nutrition Standards across Three States,” evaluating the influence of federally mandated local wellness policies on reimbursable school meals and nutritional guidelines for competitive foods, was coauthored by a team of researchers from Iowa State University (Ames), Pennsylvania State University (University Park), and University of California, Berkeley.
This special issue of Childhood Obesity was funded by a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to ensure that the Journal is accessible as widely as possible, and to provide a framework that addresses the social and environmental conditions that influence opportunities for children to have access to healthy, affordable food and safe places to play and be physically active.
Mary Ann Liebert, Inc./Genetic Engineering News