Some U.S. lunchrooms to get cheap makeover

Sept. 29, 2011 at 5:46 PM
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ITHACA, N.Y., Sept. 29 (UPI) -- Researchers at Cornell University in New York are joining with school and federal officials to make school lunches healthier.

Brian Wansink, a professor at Cornell, said the Smarter Lunchrooms Movement of the Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Programs has studied human behavior and food.

For example, he found putting fruit in a colorful bowl and moving the bowl so it is prominently displayed increased the sale of fruit by 104 percent, Wansink said.

"This is only one of the changes proposed through the Smarter Lunchrooms Movement," he said.

Sam Kass, the White House chef, and those involved with Michelle Obama's initiative Let's Move to reduce childhood obesity have teamed up with Wansink to make lunchtime innovative and healthy via the Chef's Move to Schools program.

Wansink and Cornell colleagues have analyzed multiple school lunchroom layouts and designs that hindered students' selection of nutritious foods.

The lunchrooms were revamped with easy, low-cost/no-cost environmental changes that resulted in an increase in healthy food choices, and schools are working with researchers and policymakers to make important high-level decisions that impact healthy food environments nationwide, Wansink said.

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