- Julie BrewerChild Nutrition Division, Food and Nutrition Service, DOA
Improve Nutrition Standards in School Meals
More than 23 million kids and teens in this country are overweight or obese. It’s an epidemic, and we can’t sit idly by and let the situation get worse. We already know that obesity leads to increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. Our nation’s children deserve a healthy future and, right now, YOU have a chance to help them.
We have a small window of opportunity to improve the school meal program for the first time in 15 years. New standards proposed by the United States Department of Agriculture would work to help reverse this dangerous trend by requiring schools to serve more fruits, vegetables and whole grains – among other improvements.
But in order for these important standards to pass, the USDA needs to hear from all of us – and before April 13.
We at PreventObesity.net, along with our friends at the National Alliance for Nutrition and Activity and the Pew Charitable Trusts, are working to inform these new regulations to improve nutrition standards in school meals.
Will you add your voice to this important measure and co-sign our comment to the USDA?
Together, we have the opportunity to make a difference in the health of thousands of American children. Add your voice today!
- Child Nutrition Division, Food and Nutrition Service, DOA
I thank USDA for its efforts to improve the nutritional quality of school lunches and breakfasts. The school meal proposal is the strongest set of school meal standards to date.
Given the high childhood obesity rates and the important role school meals play in children's diets, once implemented, these updated standards will make an important contribution to improving the diets and the long-term health of millions of children across the country. I strongly support the proposed school meal standards, including the following:
* Increasing the number of servings of fruits and vegetables served with meals, with an emphasis on a greater variety of vegetables and fewer starchy vegetables, like french fries;
* Ensuring all grains served in the school lunch and breakfast programs are rich in whole grains;
* Serving only milk that is fat-free or low-fat;
* Lowering sodium in meals over time;
* Ensuring schools are regularly reviewed to assess compliance with the new nutrition standards; and
* Providing training and technical assistance and supporting nutrition education and promotion efforts, as soon as possible, to help schools implement the meal changes by the start of the 2012 school year.
I applaud USDA for its leadership on improving school meals and child nutrition. Swift implementation of the proposed meal standards will do much to help safeguard the health of American children.
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