School salad bars increase meal participation, study finds

Friday, June 6, 2014

More kids eat school meals when salad bars are added, according to a recent evaluation of a program that provides free salad bars to schools nationwide. The evaluation of the “Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools” campaign found that 57 percent of schools reported an increase in school meal participation and 78 percent reported using the salad bars every day.

Since it launched in 2010, the campaign has donated 3,456 salad bars to schools in 49 states, including 148 in Colorado. Currently, there are 555 schools on the waiting list, including two in Colorado. The free bars are available to any school district participating in the National School Lunch Program.

The goal of “Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools,” which supports First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” anti-obesity effort, is to ensure every school in the country has a salad bar as part of its school meal program. Only about 17 percent of U.S. schools offer salad bars to students daily, according to a 2012 analysis by the United States Department of Agriculture.

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