Schools say no to sugary foodsBy Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/sugar-free-schools/MY01202
- With Mayo Clinic nutritionists
Jennifer Nelson, M.S., R.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.read biographyclose window
Jennifer Nelson, M.S., R.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.Katherine Zeratsky and Jennifer Nelson
Jennifer K. Nelson, M.S., R.D., L.D., C.N.S.D.
Jennifer Nelson is your link to a better diet. As specialty editor of the nutrition and healthy eating guide, she plays a vital role in bringing you healthy recipes and meal planning.
"Nutrition is one way people have direct control over the quality of their lives," she says. "I hope to translate the science of nutrition into ways that people can select and prepare great-tasting foods that help maintain health and treat disease."
A St. Paul, Minn., native, she has been with Mayo Clinic since 1978, and is director of clinical dietetics and an associate professor of nutrition at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine.
She leads clinical nutrition efforts for a staff of more than 60 clinical dietitians and nine dietetic technicians and oversees nutrition services, staffing, strategic and financial planning, and quality improvement. Nelson was co-editor of the "Mayo Clinic Diet" and the James Beard Foundation Award-winning "The New Mayo Clinic Cookbook." She has been a contributing author to and reviewer of many other Mayo Clinic books, including "Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight for EveryBody," "The Mayo Clinic Family Health Book" and "The Mayo Clinic/Williams Sonoma Cookbook." She contributes to the strategic direction of the Food & Nutrition Center, which includes creating recipes and menus, reviewing nutrition content of various articles, and providing expert answers to nutrition questions.
Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.
As a specialty editor of the nutrition and healthy eating guide, Katherine Zeratsky helps you sort through the facts and figures, the fads and the hype to learn more about nutrition and diet.
A Marinette, Wis., native, she is certified in dietetics by the state of Minnesota and the American Dietetic Association. She has been with Mayo Clinic since 1999.
She's active in nutrition-related curriculum and course development in wellness nutrition at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and nutrition related to weight management and practical applications of nutrition-related lifestyle changes.
Other areas of interest include food and nutrition for all life stages, active lifestyles and the culinary arts.
She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, served a dietetic internship at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, and worked as a registered dietitian and health risk counselor at ThedaCare of Appleton, Wis., before joining the Mayo Clinic staff.
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Feb. 19, 2010
Schools say no to sugary foods
By Jennifer Nelson, M.S., R.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.
To boost student performance, some schools have declared themselves "sugar-free" — meaning they don't allow sugar-laden foods, such as cookies, candies, birthday treats or sweet drinks. Some of these schools report not only improved school performance but also a decrease in disciplinary actions. The evidence supporting these results is mixed, but who can argue with reducing the sugar in kids' diets?
Well, some parents dislike being told what they can and can't pack in their children's lunchboxes. And I'll admit that I have some mixed feelings on the issue too.
Childhood obesity is an enormous problem, but diet is only part of the solution. We need to teach kids and families how to make healthy lifestyle choices about diet — and about physical activity. Children need to understand how daily physical activity fits into a healthy lifestyle, but unfortunately recess and physical education classes are being squeezed out of many schools.
Meals offered at school (or brought from home) need to be healthy and well balanced. But I don't see the harm in allowing cupcakes on someone's birthday as part of the celebration. Kids need to know that all foods can fit into a healthy diet when moderation is practiced. They need practice making healthy choices.
Funding for schools is limited, which further complicates the issue. Some schools feel forced into contracts with commercial food and vending companies to reduce costs or bring money into the schools. Constant access to such foods and beverages can promote unhealthy choices.
Parents, teachers and school administrators: Where do you stand on this issue? Do you have firsthand experience with sugar-free schools? What results have you seen? What do your children think? How do we get around the funding obstacles?blog index
- Chen G. Can sugar free schools improve student development and grades? Public School Review. http://www.publicschoolreview.com/articles/151. Accessed Feb. 17, 2010.
- Ells LJ, et al. A systematic review of the effect of dietary exposure that could be achieved through normal dietary intake on learning and performance of school-aged children of relevance to UK schools. British Journal of Nutrition. 2008;100:927.