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Canadian kids eating healthier in school, B.C. study suggests

UBC study found that food insecurity is a bigger issue now than 11 years ago

Although childhood obesity is on the rise, the food kids are eating in school has gotten healthier, according to a new B.C. study.

Researchers at the University of British Columbia looked at the diets of Canadian children in 2004 and again in 2015 and noted a 13-per-cent improvement in the quality of food eaten at school.

The study evaluated the foods eaten between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. using the Canadian Healthy Eating Index, a diet quality score.

Children were eating more fruits and vegetables and getting fewer calories from sugar-sweetened drinks and salty packaged snacks. However, the average school-time diet still needed “substantial improvement” as of 2015.

Food insecurity seemed to have a bigger impact in 2015. Children in food-insecure homes had a slightly lower diet quality score compared to those with secure access to food.

Researchers said Canada is the only G7 country without a national school food program, although there is a petition going.

In both 2004 and 2015, younger kids were found to have healthier school-time diets than older kids, and that green and orange vegetables, whole fruit, whole grains, and milk and its alternatives were the most lacking from all of their diets.

ALSO READ: ‘Plenty of time for a deal’: Teachers’ union expects kids back in school on Sept. 3


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