By Sharon Omahen
University of Georgia
By the time they enter high school, students begin to show many signs of maturity. Cutting back on an old childhood standard, the peanut butter sandwich, is a newfound sign uncovered by a University of Georgia survey of school-age children.
Tweens eat more than young kids
"Surprisingly, we found that middle school students are more likely to eat peanut butter sandwiches and tend to consume them more frequently than elementary school students," said Stanley Fletcher, an agricultural economist with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. "And high school students avoid them."
Fletcher doesn't know why high school students turn away from peanut butter sandwiches.
"It could be that high school students, in a transition period from teenagers to adults, begin to adopt the dietary style of adults," he said. "They start cutting back on candy and on peanut butter, too."
Most eat home-made sandwiches
The UGA study found that economic status also influences how many peanut butter sandwiches Georgia students eat. Students from counties of higher per capita income were found to eat fewer sandwiches and eat them less often.
Of the students surveyed, 82 percent eat school-prepared lunches. Of those, the study found that 41 percent like the taste of school-prepared peanut butter sandwiches.
The survey showed that students who buy school lunches eat fewer peanut butter sandwiches than those who bring lunches from home.
"School lunches usually offer more choices than home-prepared lunches," Fletcher said. "But the students who like the taste of school-prepared peanut butter sandwiches were found to eat them more often."
(Sharon Omahen is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)