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Vegetarian School Lunches Show Positive Effect

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(A school cafeteria.  File photo by Jeff Pachoud/ AFP/ Getty Images)

(A school cafeteria. File photo by Jeff Pachoud/ AFP/ Getty Images)

mattleman_125 Education Reports
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By Dr. Marciene Mattleman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Organic roasted tofu, braised black beans – not unusual items on a health food menu, but a school lunch? So begins a blog in Education Week, describing some of the offerings at PS 244, an elementary school in Queens, New York.

Author Gina Carney reports that the school is the first to change to an all vegetarian menu and benefits have been reported beyond physical health, although the switch was made as recently as January.

After only one semester, school attendance and energy levels have improved, attention spans are longer and according to principal Bob Groff, kids classified as obese dropped 2%. While the relationship can’t be positively attributed to the diet, academic performance has increased.

Although there’s concern that some “picky eaters” may not be getting enough nutrients, in all, the news should encourage other schools to risk healthy changes initially not popular with the kids.

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