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Which Contributes to Childhood Obesity More: School Lunches or Packed Lunches?

Kids who eat school lunches are more likely to be obese or overweight than those who brown-bag it. They are also more likely to eat two or more servings of fatty meat per day, are significantly less likely to participate in moderate exercise and are almost three times as likely to have two or more sugary drinks a day. Only about 5 percent of school lunches meet standard nutrition criteria, and about 95 percent of school lunches are composed of more than 30 percent fat.

More facts about childhood obesity:

  • Childhood obesity rates in the United States more than tripled between 1980 and 2010.

  • One of the main causes of childhood obesity is an extremely high level of sugar consumption, much of which comes from sodas. Soda purchases at schools increased by more than 1,000 percent between the late 1990s and the mid-2000s. The majority of children in the U.S. drink at least two soft drinks per day, and almost one in five preschoolers drinks more than 9 ounces (more than 250 ml) of soda a day.

  • The U.S. isn't the only country experiencing a rise in childhood obesity, though — out of about 42 million obese children younger than age 5 in the world, 35 million of them live in developing countries.

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