"We wanted to know what children were eating and how much they were consuming," Tammie Rempe, nutrition services director with the Thompson School District, said.
Rempe contacted Stephanie Smith, a registered dietician who is seeking her doctorate in food science and nutrition. For months, Smith photographed and chronicled what students were throwing away during lunch.
"There were days that were nearly whole pieces of fresh fruit that were being discarded, which we hated to see that," Smith said.
The study showed that at some schools about a third of the fruits and vegetables were discarded. Other schools saw rates close to 50 percent. Rempe says the results were not surprising and are consistent with national trends.
"We really need to implement nutrition education which really we've been lacking in the Thompson School District," Rempe said.
Rempe and Smith say the issue goes deeper than just the kids. She says the culture at school needs to change as well.
"We have teachers offering candy as a reward or pizza parties," Rempe said.
The bigger challenge, they say, maybe changing habits at home as well.
"It's families. It's children. It's grandparents," Rempe said. "It's all of us."
"Kids will role model what their parents eat," Smith said.
The study has caused district officials to look at other things besides added nutrition education. Cafeteria workers will now try better placement and presentation of fruits and vegetables as well as a better marketing campaign with the school.
For more details and specific numbers on the study, read the story posted here by our partners at Education News Colorado.
(KUSA-TV © 2011 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)