CHICAGO – At least two Chicago schools will now issue “report cards” to students judging their lunch selections.
According to a press release from Rush University Medical Center, two charter schools – UNO Charter School Network’s Rufino Tamayo Charter School and Octavio Paz Charter School – will give students a healthy eating “report card.”
The program is called, “Healthy School Meals Realized through Technology (SMART) Schools.”
“Preventive medicine experts at Rush University Medical Center and Canyon Ranch Institute have teamed up to design and test a new program that tracks what students are actually choosing to eat at school meals and supports parents and caregivers in helping their child achieve a healthy lifestyle,” according to the news release.
Each week, parents and teachers will receive a report on the nutritional value of their child’s school breakfast and lunch along with “healthy eating recommendations” for each student.
The program was funded with a $200,000 grant from the Hillshire Brands Company.
“Using the new technology system and software program developed for Healthy SMART Schools, cafeteria workers scan each student’s identification card and use a touch-screen monitor to record each food item the student chooses for breakfast and lunch. The system allows researchers to document students’ food choices and create a summary of their nutritional value,” according to the news release.
One-page report cards on each student’s food choices are sent to parents and teachers in both English and Spanish, according to Rush University Medical Center.
The report card lists the nutritional value of each student’s meals during the past week, such as calories per day and daily vegetable and fruit servings. The intent is supposedly to provide “information designed to advance the families’ health knowledge so that students and parents can make more informed choices about their health and well-being.”
“By creating healthy eating ‘report cards,’ the City of Chicago and its partners have taken another important step in the fight against obesity,” Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Bechara Choucair, M.D. says.
It’s unclear how the data will be shared with companies like Hillshire or protected, if at all.