This week, representatives from research institutions, government, community organizations, schools and food service industries met at the Louisiana School Food Summit: Making the Grade, to discuss effective ways to create healthier school environments. The summit was hosted by the School Health Connection, a Louisiana Public Health Institute program.
“This summit brought together school health leaders to champion how school food policies and practices support learning and promote health equity,” said Marsha Broussard, Director of School Health Connection. “As leaders in health and education, these conversations increase our collective resolve to improve the quality of school food and support better health for all Louisiana children! Healthy children are better learners!”
At the summit, The Pew Charitable Trusts released the results from the Louisiana state public-opinion poll about school nutrition. The Louisiana statewide poll was conducted by Public Opinion Strategies and Hart Research Associates for the Pew Charitable Trusts as part of its work with Voices for Healthy Kids, a collaboration of the American Heart Association and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The results were from a telephone survey conducted from September 29 to October 3, and results show that three in four voters with children in public schools are in support of the national nutritional standards for school meals and snacks.
The executive summary from this survey says:
- Nearly all voters (96%) and public school parents (97%) believe serving nutritious foods in schools is important in helping ensure that children are prepared to learn and do their best in school.
- More than seven in ten voters (75%) and public school parents (78%) in the state support requiring public schools to meet the national nutrition standards for school meals.
- There is a majority of support among Republican (62%), Independent (72%), and Democratic (86%) voters.
- There is a majority of support among voters across all income levels and ethnic groups
- More than seven in ten public school parents (76%) in the state report that their children participate in the school meals program.
- More than half of public school parents (54%) report their child/children eat lunch that is prepared by the school four to five days per week, 22 percent report it is one to three days per week, and 23 percent say their child/children never eats lunch prepared by the school.
“We are excited that this poll shows so much support from voters, especially parents, for a consistently healthy school environment. In answering questions about nutrition standards both in and out of the cafeteria, Louisiana has shown it feels strongly about the importance of continuing to make progress for children’s health,” said PreventObesity.net Leader Jessica Donze-Black, Director of Child Nutrition at the Pew Charitable Trusts.