UI research improves school lunches for Iowa K–12 students

Published on November 14, 2018

Portrait of Natoshia Askelson, professor in the Department of Community and Behavioral Health at the University of Iowa College of Public Health.
Natoshia Askelson

The Healthy Schools-Healthy Students program works with school districts to encourage students to eat more nutritious lunches more often. The program in Iowa is administered by the Iowa Department of Education and evaluated by the University of Iowa College of Public Health. Its goal is to use strategies proven by research to reduce childhood obesity, provide fresh fruits and vegetables to students who may not have regular access to them, and establish good eating habits for life.

“Research has shown that if you get kids eating spinach and broccoli and other nutritious foods when they’re young, they’re more likely to eat them for life,” says Natoshia Askelson, assistant professor of community and behavioral health in the College of Public Health who oversees the program at UI. She and a group of UI students have been working with 10 high schools, 10 middle schools, and 10 elementary schools in two-year cycles since 2013 to implement strategies and measure results. The program wraps up in May 2019.

Read the full article in Iowa Now: UI research improves school lunches for Iowa K–12 students 

Additional Media Coverage

Putting zucchini on schoolkids’ A-list: Iowa research looked at how to make students eat more fruits and veggies (The Gazette)

College of Public Health builds healthy eating habits in rural schools (Daily Iowan)