School lunches, 2007 state rankings

February 24, 2008

  • The National School Lunch Program served more than 5 billion lunches in 2007.
  • The average cost of a lunch for the last school year was $1.80.
  • The Department of Agriculture has not changed rules about the nutritional content of federally subsidized school lunches in 30 years.
  • School lunches must meet the applicable recommendations of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which recommend that no more than 30 percent of an individuals calories come from fat, and less than 10 percent from saturated fat. Fewer than 1/3 of public school lunches meet these standards.
  • Over the last two decades, rates of obesity have tripled in children and adolescents, and only 2% of children eat a diet that is healthy according to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) criteria.

  • Nationally, 33% of elementary schools, 71% of middle/junior high schools, and 89% of high schools sell foods and beverages out of vending machines, school stores, or a la carte in the cafeteria.
  • The percentage of high schools with vending machines has doubled since the early 1990’s.
  • 75 percent of drinks and 85 percent of snacks sold via school vending machines are of poor nutritional value.
  • Twenty states received failing grades for their school food policies.

What’s considered junk food in schools? You won’t believe it. Take the quiz and find out.

How are kids getting fat? A typical teenage diet looks like this.

2007 School foods report card. How does your state rank?

The numbers in parentheses give the state’s rank as compared to the school nutrition policies in other states, with (1) being the strongest policy.

A- Kentucky (1)1, Oregon (2)
B+ Mississippi (3), Nevada (4), Alabama (5), Arkansas (6), California
(7), Washington (7), New Mexico (8)
B New Jersey (9), Arizona (10), Tennessee (10)
B- Louisiana (11), Texas (12),,West Virginia (13), Connecticut (14),
Rhode Island (15), Florida (16)
C+ Hawaii (17)
C Maine (18), Illinois (19), District of Columbia (20)
C- Colorado (21), South Carolina (22)
D+ New York (23), Maryland (24), North Carolina (25)
D Oklahoma (26), Virginia (27)
D- Indiana (28), Georgia (29)

Sources: Good magazine, March/April 2008 issue,,


2 Responses to “School lunches, 2007 state rankings”

  1. Connie Says:

    I was surprised to see Florida scoring a B- I find the school lunch served in my kids elementary school Boca Raton Elementary is not good, fried food, ice cream, lots of junk. Kids are also being rewarded with candy, the parties in the classrooms are loaded with junk; cupcakes covered with icing, cookies with sprinkles, chips, ice pops, etc etc. I wish to change this in a positive way can you help point me in the right direction?
    Thanks, Connie

  2. annierichardson Says:

    Hi Connie,

    Thanks for caring enough to want to make a difference. You may want try getting together with other concerned parents. Develop ideas, a plan, and then take them to the school principal, PTA, County Board of Education, etc.

    Here are a couple of good websites to check as well:


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