USDA Implement Ground-breaking School Meal Reforms

USDA Implement Ground-breaking School Meal Reforms

26 Jan 2012 --- Michelle Obama: "When we send our kids to school, we expect that they won't be eating the kind of fatty, salty, sugary foods that we try to keep them from eating at home. We want the food they get at school to be the same kind of food we would serve at our own kitchen tables."

Jan 26 2012 --- First Lady Michelle Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has unveiled new standards for school meals that will result in healthier meals for kids across the nation. The new meal requirements will raise standards for the first time in more than fifteen years and improve the health and nutrition of nearly 32 million kids that participate in school meal programs every school day. The healthier meal requirements are a key component of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which was championed by the First Lady as part of her Let's Move! campaign and signed into law by President Obama.

"As parents, we try to prepare decent meals, limit how much junk food our kids eat, and ensure they have a reasonably balanced diet," said First Lady Michelle Obama. "And when we're putting in all that effort the last thing we want is for our hard work to be undone each day in the school cafeteria. When we send our kids to school, we expect that they won't be eating the kind of fatty, salty, sugary foods that we try to keep them from eating at home. We want the food they get at school to be the same kind of food we would serve at our own kitchen tables."

"Improving the quality of the school meals is a critical step in building a healthy future for our kids," said Vilsack. "When it comes to our children, we must do everything possible to provide them the nutrition they need to be healthy, active and ready to face the future – today we take an important step towards that goal."

The final standards make the same kinds of practical changes that many parents are already encouraging at home. The proposals include: ensuring students are offered both fruits and vegetables every day of the week; substantially increasing offerings of whole grain-rich foods; offering only fat-free or low-fat milk varieties; limiting calories based on the age of children being served to ensure proper portion size; and increasing the focus on reducing the amounts of saturated fat, trans fats and sodium.

USDA built the new rule around recommendations from a panel of experts convened by the Institute of Medicine —a gold standard for evidence-based health analysis. The standards were also updated with key changes from the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans – the Federal government's benchmark for nutrition – and aimed to foster the kind of healthy changes at school that many parents are already trying to encourage at home, such as making sure that kids are offered both fruits and vegetables each day, more whole grains, and portion sizes and calorie counts designed to maintain a healthy weight.

USDA received an unprecedented 132,000 public comments on its proposed – and made modifications to the proposed rule where appropriate. USDA Under Secretary Kevin Concannon said: "We know that robust public input is essential to developing successful standards and the final standards took a number of suggestions from stakeholders, school food service professions and parents to make important operational changes while maintaining nutritional integrity."

The new standards are expected to cost $3.2 billion over the next five years -- less than half of the estimated cost of the proposed rule and are just one of five major components of the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act, now implemented or under development, that will work together to reform school nutrition.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics are strongly in favor of the new measures "Given the realities of federal, state and local budgets, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is committed to leading the creative collaborations that will be needed to implement changes in school food programs," said registered dietitian and Academy President Sylvia A. Escott-Stump.

"Children deserve our best efforts to provide them with good nutrition, and school nutrition directors across the country—many of whom are registered dietitians and Academy members—are already serving healthy, delicious meals to our children. The meal standards announced today will support their ongoing efforts and ensure continuous improvement in the meals they are served," Escott-Stump said.

Although health groups praise the new standards, food industry lobbyists got Congress to prevent USDA from limiting French fries and ensure that pizza counts as a serving of vegetables due to its tomato paste.

Related Articles

Health & Nutrition News

Study: Older Persons Differ In Their Emotions Relating To Mealtimes

21 Oct 2014 --- Older persons can be divided into four groups based on their emotional experience of mealtimes. That is the conclusion of scientists from Wageningen UR Food & Biobased Research on the basis of research carried out by members of the senior test panel SenTo. The study, which was published in Appetite in September, offers product developers and marketers tools for better adapting their products to meet the differing needs and wants of the growing population of older persons.

Food Ingredients News

US Industry Survey: Over 30,000 Healthier Product Choices Launched in US From 2002 to 2013

21 Oct 2014 --- More than 30,000 healthier product choices have been made available to consumers between 2002 and 2013 according to the 2014 Health & Wellness Survey released today by the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA). The new choices represent an additional 10,000 in just the last four years.

Business News

Pediatric Allergology: Fresh Milk Keeps Infections at Bay

21 Oct 2014 --- A study by researchers of Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich shows that infants fed on fresh rather than UHT cow’s milk are less prone to infection. The authors recommend the use of alternative processing methods to preserve the protectants found in the natural product.

Business News

Neptune Targets Heart Health with new NKO Beat

20 Oct 2014 --- Utilizing Neptune Krill Oil (NKO) as the base ingredient, Neptune Technologies & Bioressources introduces NKO Beat, targeting heart and cardiovascular health. Available for North America in 60 days, NKO Beat features all the proven heart health benefits of NKO, including up to seven times more astaxanthin than other krill oils, plus Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10).

More Articles
URL : http://www.nutritioninsight.com:80/news/USDA-Implement-Ground-breaking-School-Meal-Reforms.html