US School Meal Program Improves Students’ Eating Habits

December 16, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. enact / ɛnˈækt / (v.) – to make into a law
Example: The government enacted a new law against child labor.

2. undernourished / ˌʌn dərˈnɜr ɪʃt / (adj.) – a person who does not get enough healthy food
Example: The organization conducts feeding programs for undernourished children.

3. consumption / kənˈsʌmp ʃən / (n.) – the process of drinking or eating something
Example: The parents are alarmed by their children’s high sugar consumption.

4. nonprofit / nɒnˈprɒf ɪt / (adj.) – not established to earn money
ExampleNon-profit organizations organized the party for street children.

5. residential / ˌrɛz ɪˈdɛn ʃəl / (adj.) – referring to a place in which people can live or stay in
Example: The residential childcare institution admits abandoned or orphaned children.  


Read the text below.
The National School Lunch Program has improved US students’ eating habits, new research shows.

The National School Lunch Program, a school meal program supported by the US government, was enacted in 2012 to offer students free or discounted healthy lunch choices. Its main goals are to provide food assistance to undernourished children and to fight the rising rates of childhood obesity. The program also aims to reduce children’s consumption of salt and unhealthy fats. Under the program, children are given fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat milk.

The program operates in over 100,000 public and nonprofit private schools, as well as in residential child care institutions. After four years of implementing the guidelines, researchers said that the total calories of the students’ lunch choices declined by four percent. Their calories from fat also decreased by 18%, and by eight percent from salt.

The study aimed to see whether the school meal program was meeting its goals. The researchers looked for differences in the lunch choices of students who receive discounted and free lunches versus those who pay the full price. Results revealed that students receiving discounted or free lunches still choose less healthy food, but with lower calories than before. 

The US government continues to implement programs similar to the National School Lunch Program. They aim to provide healthy food to children, as childhood obesity rates have been rising in recent years. Other programs include the School Breakfast Program, Child and Adult Care Food Program, and Summer Food Service Program.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         What is the importance of implementing school meal programs like the National School Lunch Program?
·         Who has greater responsibility in ensuring that children eat healthy food: their parents or their school?

Discussion B

·         Do you think that programs like these should also be implemented in your country’s schools? Why or why not?
·         Aside from school meal programs, how else can the government ensure children’s health and wellness?

December 16, 2016