Online Programs Help Parents Regulate Children's Diets
> 7/31/2006 3:37:58 PM

In another update in the ongoing battle between parents and bad nutrition, Newsweek reports on a new phenomenon adopted by some school cafeterias: an online pre-paid food plan that lets parents know what their kids are buying and, ideally, helps to regulate what they can eat.

Sites like and will be available to more than a million American parents this fall. Schools say they speed up lunch lines by eliminating cash exchanges. Some of the sites do not charge fees for schools to use the service, instead drawing their profits from transaction fees incurred when parents add money to kids' accounts.

These sites may help parents prevent their children from eating too much junk food, as undesired items may be restricted by the program and signal an alarm with the cashier. Parents can look online to judge the meal choices made by their children. Of course, presenting a child with broccoli and actually getting him or her to eat it are different beasts entirely. A related study states that a large majority of students throw portions of their meals away each day and that a smaller percentage trade food with classmates. Another system may be needed to prevent the forbidden acquisition of cookies and chocolate milk.

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