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SPARK Sparks Healthier Children

Sparks are flying. SPARK (Supporting Parent Advocates with Resources and Knowledge) is a new website created by the Yale Rudd Institute Policy for Food Policy and Obesity . It explores many ways that schools can promote good nutrition.

Following are some of SPARK's (not chicken) nuggets of information about children, school food and health:

Approximately one-third of American children are overweight or obese.

Children ingest one third of their calories from pizza, snacks and desserts.

Children are more likely to eat foods that teachers, parents and peers eat.

Children learn to prefer healthy foods that are used as rewards.

Removing unhealthful and low-nutrient foods from schools decreases kids' overall consumption.

Children under the age of 18 eat about 50 percent or less of USDA -recommended levels of fruits and vegetables.

Cases of high blood pressure and high cholesterol in U.S. children are dramatically increasing.

One-fourth of all vegetable consumption in the U.S. is in the form of French fries.

Children are more likely to eat food they have grown and prepared themselves.

School lunch sales do not decline when meals are healthier, and nutritious meals do not necessarily cost more to prepare.

Meals with added sugar, salt, sodium nitrites and fat contribute to an overall increased risk for heart disease and diabetes.

High salt content in processed foods contributes to high blood pressure, hypertension and heart disease.

For more information, visit SPARK or the Rudd Institute.

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