Florida Public Health Review

Publication Date

March 2010


Childhood overweight and obesity have increased three-fold since 1980, and there is minimal evidence of any leveling off. Research has found that many school food programs are not sufficiently providing adequate nutrients and providing far too many calories and fat. Competitive foods are widely available in many schools which may possibly contribute to increased weight and body mass index (BMI) in students. This has put school food programs under scrutiny as a contributor to the childhood obesity crisis being faced. Schools can promote healthier eating by improving school meals, but most are forced to sell competitive foods to support their programs. Several programs have proven that children tend to gravitate towards healthier option when given the opportunity. Leadership in the area of school nutrition may improve the quality of nutritional meals available in schools. This paper proposes the possible link between school food service programs and the upward trend in childhood overweight and obesity.