School snacks under attack: USDA asks the public for their input

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February 13, 2013
School lunch

Childhood obesity is a leading health concern for kids in the eyes of adults across the country. In an effort to improve the nutrition children receive during the school day, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has issued a new “Smart Snacks in Schools” proposal and has opened up a period for public comment.

“Smart Snacks in Schools” focuses on providing kids with healthy food options throughout the day – including the items sold in vending machines and at snack bars. Here are some of the proposal’s highlights:

  • Reducing the amount of high fat, sugar, and sodium foods and beverages.
  • Promoting snacks with whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
  • Offering age-appropriate serving sizes for beverages and monitoring caffeine content.

In a 2009 NPCH Report, we asked parents for their opinions about the amount of healthy food choices at their children’s public schools. In primary schools, 37% of parents gave their children’s schools an “A” and 10% gave their children’s schools a “D” or an “F”. The grades were worse for secondary schools: just 21% of parents gave their children’s schools an “A” and 18% graded their children’s school at a “D” or an “F” for the amount of healthy food options provided. Read the full report - Healthy food choices: can schools improve their grades?

What do you think of the USDA’s “Smart Snacks in School” proposal? Share your feedback at regulations.gov. The public comment period will be open until April 9, 2013.

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