What do Teens Really Think About School Meals?

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When teens don’t get enough to eat, this not only impacts their academic performance and reduces their chances of graduation, but it also affects their overall physical, social and emotional well-being.

Research has shown that youth thrive when they eat school and community meals, but there’s a participation gap among teens compared with younger children. There’s also a tendency to focus more on elementary-aged students when it comes to improving the school meals experience. At No Kid Hungry, we recognize the importance of tackling hunger from a variety of perspectives in order to ensure that all young people receive the benefits of child nutrition programs. That’s why we need teenagers to take part in the conversation.

In May 2022, with the support and expertise of FM3 Research, we found out what middle and high school students think about school and community meals by interviewing 1,000 teens across the U.S.
Our goal was threefold—(1) to better gauge teens’ perceptions of school and community meals; (2) to determine if and how schools are working with teens to improve these programs; and (3) to find out how much teens want to be engaged in improving the school and community meals experience.