RSU 3 approves chocolate milk at elementary schools on limited basis
School board members approved a proposal to offer chocolate milk on a very limited basis at the elementary schools in an effort to see if participation in the school lunch program will increase as a result.
Chocolate milk was removed from the lunch program about six or seven years ago, after studies were published about the effects of high-sugar-content beverages and obesity, Regional School Unit 3 Superintendent Heather Perry said. The research conducted regarding the correlation between sugary drinks and obesity dealt mainly with soda, energy drinks and similar beverages.
However, because of the sugar content in chocolate milk, Perry said, officials opted to remove it from the lunch program.
“There was a big conversation about sugary drinks, and chocolate milk got thrown into that mix,” Perry said.
With the approval from the school board, chocolate milk will be offered on a once-a-week basis, and the number of students eating the school lunch will be tracked to determine if offering chocolate milk results in an increase in student participation.
As Perry explained, there are students who choose not to eat the school lunch because they won’t drink white milk. Those students may then bring a less-healthy lunch from home as a result. By offering chocolate milk, the intent is to encourage those students to eat a more well balanced school lunch.
The schools will collect school lunch participation numbers for about four months before the information is brought back to the school board for a final decision regarding whether to serve chocolate milk all the time, on a limited basis or not at all.
The district’s milk provider, Oakhurst, has since reduced the sugar content in its chocolate milk, Perry noted. However, some parents and member of the school board Kathy Eichenberg of Liberty were still concerned about offering it to students because of the sugar content.
School board members approved the serving of chocolate milk on a limited basis by a vote of seven to two, with Eickenberg and Jackson member Lisa Cooley voting against the proposal.
Republican Journal reporter Ben Holbrook can be reached at 338-3333 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.