Lunch fail

No, pizza is not a vegetable. And it looks like U.S. schools are starting to get the message… though not nearly fast enough.

As part of a new study, researchers collected surveys from 1,830 schools across the country between 2006 and 2010. Principals and food service managers answered questions about physical activities, nutrition education, lunch content, and more.

Responses showed marginal improvements, including a definite step in the right direction in at least one area. The number of contracts with beverage companies that hock sodas and other sugary drinks dropped.

Call me negative, but I have a hard time getting excited over such modest progress in solving a problem we shouldn’t even have. That there are still soda machines in any school–especially in light of skyrocketing childhood obesity rates–is disgraceful.

And putting more whole grains on the menu, when what our kids really need is fresh vegetables? Well, let’s just say it doesn’t make me feel any better about the situation.

It’s time to step it up. Not just in schools, either. Good nutrition begins at home–and the habits you instill in your children now will last them a lifetime, for better or worse.

So let’s aim for better. Much better.

“Slow progress in changing the school food environment: Nationally representative results from public and private elementary schools.” Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 112:9, pp. 1380-1389, September 2012.