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Notre Dame Research Creates Tool To Change Cafeterias So Kids Eat Healthier

University of Notre Dame


Researchers at the University of Notre Dame have found that changes in elementary school cafeterias can make a difference in what foods kids eats.

The recommendations provided by the Cafeteria Assessment for Elementary Schools (CAFES) range from big and expensive to small and free.

It shows simple changes like moving healthy foods closer to the register, slicing fruits and veggies, and changing the dish size they’re served in can help.  Also large-scale design and remodels like adding windows and switching to round tables in cafeterias can also make a difference in what kids choose to eat, or choose to throw out.

Researcher Kim Rollings said it’s a tool for schools to help kids be healthier.

“I think we still see a high percentage of students not achieving the recommended daily intake of fruits and vegetables and so having an evidence-based tool like this really allows schools to assist their students in eating healthier.”

The CAFES research is available now as a paper assessment that schools can use to see where they score and find out ways to be better. By the end of the year Rollings said the assessment will also be available as a smartphone app.