PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 24, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As public schools strive to follow new national guidelines in offering breakfast and lunch to their students, a nutrition leader who helped develop those guidelines provides perspective on a new study analyzing the other lunches—those that children bring from home.
Virginia Stallings, M.D., the Jean Cortner Endowed Chair in Pediatric Gastroenterology and Director of the Nutrition Center at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia was committee chair of the 2009 Institute of Medicine committee that proposed updated guidelines for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), which was passed by Congress in 2011 as the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act.
In an editorial in this week's Journal of the American Medical Association-Pediatrics Dr. Stallings comments on a study in the same issue by Michelle L. Caruso, MPH, RD., and Karen W Cullen, DrPh, RD., analyzing the nutritional quality and cost of lunch brought from home by elementary and intermediate school-age children in one school district in Houston. The authors found that, compared to the NSLP benchmarks, home lunch was of lower quality and contained more sodium and fewer servings of vegetables and fat-free or one percent milk.
These findings, say Dr. Stallings, contradict the general assumption that a home-prepared lunch will be as healthful as the school lunch, and possibly better. She recommends encouraging families to send lunches that are similar to the NSLP diet patterns and health promotion goals.
"Children must have a healthful breakfast and lunch to be ready to learn. Ensuring they have access to the right foods and education about food will prepare them to make healthy choices today and throughout their lifetime," Stallings said.
To arrange an interview with Dr. Stallings, contact Joey McCool Ryan at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia at (267) 426-6070 or [email protected]
About The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia: The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia was founded in 1855 as the nation's first pediatric hospital. Through its long-standing commitment to providing exceptional patient care, training new generations of pediatric healthcare professionals and pioneering major research initiatives, Children's Hospital has fostered many discoveries that have benefited children worldwide. Its pediatric research program is among the largest in the country. In addition, its unique family-centered care and public service programs have brought the 535-bed hospital recognition as a leading advocate for children and adolescents. For more information, visit http://www.chop.edu.
Contact: Joey McCool Ryan
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SOURCE The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia