Poll: Supermarkets, schools could do more to help kids eat healthier

September 07, 2011

Adults want stores and schools to provide easier access to healthy foods and information encouraging smarter eating.

Consumers are split over supermarkets' involvement in easing the path to better nutritional choices for children. While nearly four out of 10 adults (39%) say, "I never notice my local supermarket getting involved in kids' nutrition," almost the same amount (38%) say they "occasionally notice the store reaching out to help shoppers make healthy food choices for kids."

Just 14% see the supermarket "frequently provide ideas, events and information on healthy food choices for kids." Another nine percent don’t expect this kind of help.

When responding to our exclusive quick poll on Nutritional Guidance for Children, adults were similarly split over the actions of schools their kids attend to encourage, encourage and provide healthy foods. Just 12% feel schools are excellent in this regard, and five percent don't see it as the school's responsibility. Most answers cluster around the middle:  31% say schools "sometimes do enough, but I feel they could do more"; 28% say schools "do the best they can, but their resources are limited"; 22% say schools "don’t do much at all to help."

Would adults like schools to do more? Absolutely.
Nearly three-quarters of survey respondents (73%) want schools to provide "more healthy food options for sale in the school cafeteria."  And 65% (they could name multiple responses) want "nutrition a part of the required curriculum."

It appears that adults think this could be enough to inculcate better eating habits among their children. Just 22% of survey respondents feel school is a "difficult" place to encourage the eating of healthy foods. Difficulty rises to 35% "at a friend’s house" and 26% when "dining out." Home is the least difficult place, cited by just 16% of adults.

In the minds of adults, the kids aren’t so bad when it comes to healthy eating. Half (49%) say their "kids are accustomed to eating pretty healthy foods," while 42% admit that "sometimes we struggle."  Just eight percent say "it’s always a battle."