As everyone who has been in elementary, middle and high school knows, the school lunch options are very limited. Students’ academic scores, health issues and calories are all taking a hit when it comes to school lunches, which are not supplying students with the necessary nutrients they need to succeed.
In California, many public schools have contracted with private companies to supply their lunches. According to a study by Michael L. Anderson, Justin Gallagher, and Elizabeth Ramirez Ritchie, researchers for Brookings Education, the average school lunch provided by the private companies are less healthy than the average American diet. In Colorado, the situation is exactly the same. Private companies are under contract with the school to supply our lunches. High school is a little bit different, but middle and elementary schools have the same deal. The studies done in California are very similar to Colorado, in regards to school lunches.
Another effect of nutrition-lacking lunches in test scores. Momentous Institute found that when a school contracts with a healthy lunch company, students score better on academic tests at the end of the year. Ricardo Cano, an author at CalMatters, said, “Statewide test scores inched up incrementally this year.” This increase could be because of the increasing number of schools contracting with healthier lunch companies. In relation, the average English and Math scores for grades 3-8 are increasing.
A common concern is the amount of food students are eating. This shouldn’t be a concern, according to Brookings Education. They said, “We find no evidence that contracting with a private company to provide healthier meals changes the number of school lunches sold.” It is clear that improving or decreasing the health of school lunches does not affect the amount students eat. In Colorado, the relation to lunches brought to the prices of lunches are inverse, meaning when one goes down, the other goes up.
The lunch situation in California is an accurate representation of most of the USA’s lunch situation in regards to schools. The lunches limited to dairy, grain, processed meat and small harvest bar can affect students in many ways. Obesity, test scores and calories eaten are negatively impacted by the way the lunch system is working now.