Spoiler Alert – Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution is a “short-term” failure

jamie oliver banner Spoiler Alert   Jamie Olivers Food Revolution is a short term failure

Researchers from West Virginia University’s Health Research Center, surveyed the students, teachers and food service staff involved with Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution in Huntington W.Va.

Their findings?

  • 77% of the students indicated they were “very unhappy” with the new foods served at school.…they preferred chicken nuggets and fries  over baked chicken drumsticks with salad.
  • Lunch participation dropped from 75% to 66%…they really didn’t like those drumsticks
  • There was a 25% decrease in the consumption of milk….indicating that a lot of kids only drink milk if it’s sweetened and flavored

moz screenshot Spoiler Alert   Jamie Olivers Food Revolution is a short term failure

jamie oliver food revolution graph 1 Spoiler Alert   Jamie Olivers Food Revolution is a short term failure

  • 83% of the “lunch ladies” reported a longer preparation time for the Food Revolution meals….they estimated that cooking whole foods would require an extra hour of prep time per day
  • 67% of the cooks reported food safety concerns re raw chicken & tomatoes
  • 83% of the cooks rated the taste of the standard meals as good or excellent, while
  • Only 50% of the cooks rated Jamie Oliver’s meals as good, with the remaining 50% rating them as fair or poor.

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Their Conclusions

Overall, the findings for the initial evaluation of the impact of the Food Revolution program suggest that the new menus were not well accepted and had a negative impact on meal participation and milk consumption, despite some benefits identified through the nutrient analysis.

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It is important to note that this evaluation reflects only the short-term effects of the program; continuing to evaluate the impact on students and staff over a longer period of time is recommended to identify any longer-term changes in acceptability, burden, and nutrition.

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My Conclusions

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  • I couldn’t care less if 77% of the students were very unhappy with the new, healthier foods….they’re kids.  Of course they hate “healthy” food. That’s their #1 jobs as kids.
  • And our job as adults is to make sure they eat all their vegetables.   Most of them also hate going to school, but we know it’s good for them, so we make them go.   The same logic applies for their food…it’s our job to do what’s right, not what’s popular.
  • Why are kids drinking strawberry milk anyway?
  • Re: the longer prep time….of course preparing “real food” is going to take longer than re-heating chicken nuggets. But, why is that even an argument?   Isn’t the health and education of our children worth that extra hour?
  • Re: the food safety concern….aren’t cooks trained in proper food handling?   And why are tomatoes so darned scary anyway?
  • And finally, if the cooks at this school actually prefer chicken nuggets and fries over one of Jamie Oliver’s personal creations….the school needs new cooks…with functioning taste-buds.

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The Moral of My Rant

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Our collective short term thinking threw the world into a global recession.

Similarly, short term thinking has also made our kids fat and unhealthy.

It’s time to grow up and start thinking “long term” as it pertains to our kids’ health & education.

Feeding them “real food” is just a first step.

Doug Robb is a personal trainer, a fitness blogger and author, a competitive athlete, a social media nerd and a student of nutrition and exercise science. Since 2008, Doug has brought his real-world experience online via his health & fitness blog, Health Habits.

13 Comments

  1. Brenden

    June 18, 2010 at 4:04 pm

    I agree with this rant, not only do i back what Jamie is doing 100% I think that parents and the school system get together on this and stand up for the health of the children in their care.
    Besides in Jamie’s experiment it is about education just because he leaves does not mean you chuck it out the window!

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  4. Gabriel

    April 24, 2010 at 7:25 pm

    We have not really changed our taste-buds as some suggest. Human brains have been conditioned over millions of years to seek out fats and sugars, traditional high energy foods that were hard to get in the past.

    Now days fast food companies know this and load their foods and drinks with fats and sugars. We love them and they are terrible for us when they plentiful and not just a rare treat. They are exploiting our brain programming and it’s killing us.

  5. Paul Yasi

    April 18, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    That is because it’s still low fat and high carb which does not work. Humans need saturated fats, protein, and just enough carbohydrates, not a majority of calories from carbohydrates like the standard diet these days!

  6. Rachel

    April 5, 2010 at 11:39 am

    I truly believe in what Jamie is doing, and I also could care less what 77% of students say because guess what, we (the adults) are the boss of what goes on the table and into their mouths, I also believe that if they are really hungry they will eat what they are given.

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  8. Anji Sandage

    April 2, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    Duh! Since when did kids make great food choices when left to their own devices? That is why they have PARENTS! What did they think that the poll would show? I am willing to bet that the majority of the kids who said they were unhappy with the change in the menu are kids who’s parents are not involved in their kids education, and who feed them junk at home. My kids watched the clip and said “I wish he would come to our school!”

  9. Ibrahim Ali

    April 1, 2010 at 11:34 pm

    Doug,

    I was about to rip you a new one (intellectually speaking), however, that was until I read YOUR comments on the ‘findings’ of WVU’s research. Indeed, I would hardly call it a failure. I think forward-thinking like this is needed. And we need more individuals like Jamie Oliver to push the agenda further on health and our relationship with food.

    – Ibrahim

  10. healthhabits

    April 1, 2010 at 6:50 pm

    Dan – I want to like the show as I think that as a social experiment it may be useful in helping make a dent in America’s obesity problem, BUT, whoever is cripting this thing must think we’re all a bunch of idiots.

    What were the odds that Jamie wasn’t going to get an extension on his elementary school trial program?

    How about 0%.

    You have to know that ABC was throwing some cashola at the school board. This is tv. No way they were leaving anything to chance.

    The show feels very staged.

    And to be honest, I have only watched one or two Jamie Oliver shows before this. I’m not much of a cooking show kind of guy.

    I do like Bobby Flay’s throwdowns however.

  11. NotThePest

    April 1, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    As I began working out and stuck to it, after about 8 weeks, my taste buds changed and i began enjoying healthy foods. I’m not sure if like a slow moving stream that is clogged with silt, our bodies react the same way and become so clogged with crap when we are inactive that we just can’t taste the subtle flavors of good food.

    Just a thought.

  12. Dr Dan

    April 1, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    My take on this. First of all if your worried about raw chicken then cook it properly. That worry reflects on the bad cooking capabilities of the cooks not that raw chicken is bad. Which brings me to my next point. If your a cook that prefers to serve chicken nuggets and is afraid of raw food then your probably not the best judge of what tastes good. Having said all this – I hate Jamie Oliver I find him arrogant and patronising.

  13. Pamela Fatone

    April 1, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    In the short term a failure because we ahve chnaged the taste buds of country’s children t know and like the taste of CRAP.
    I applaude Jamies eforts, its too bad GOOD Healthy food is more expensive, and that cheap processed FAST foods win over the school systems. This is pathetic and sad in many ways.

    You opened many Eyes Jamie, hopefully this will prevail in time because many of us want it too.

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